Persuasion, Causation, Multisensory Priming, Compliance Gaining, Dissonance

Defining Persuasion

  In the article by Howell, persuasion has been defined as consisting of communicative interactions with a purpose of causing a person(s) to prefer one of two or more possible courses of actions or beliefs (Howell, 1973). However, Magee states that persuasion is based on intuitive understandings of human nature, anecdotal evidence, and trial-and-error efforts (Magee, 2014). In the article by Howell, the definition of persuasion is more abstract, dwelling on the concept of interaction that involves the influence of an individual into accepting an alternative belief or course of action. In the text, the definition has been broadened to include a scientific process, where informal evidence is employed.

            The modern social scientists have expanded on the concept of persuasion, to a more broad and inclusive scientific manner. For instance, O’Keefe identifies several elements that must be included for the process of persuasion to be successful. According to the author, the process of persuasion must include the communication of the message, the mindful intent to persuade, the message receiver’s will, the impact on the outlook of the receiver and successful alteration of the behavior of the receiver as intended by the persuader.

            The definition of persuasion has changed over the past forty years, where modern intent of persuasion has changed to include its use for guilty behaviors and sometimes not for the common good of the people involved in the process.  The modern world continues to evolve rapidly in all aspects, from the way communication is done to the ease of accessibility of information. As technology sector continue to expand, research methods evolve and more people get access to the published information. It is anticipated that in the coming decade as people interact more through technology, the definition of persuasion will.


            Bob needs to consider a number of factors in order to determine if the increase in ticket sells was as a result of the new waterslide. One such factor is the changes in economy; he should determine whether the increase in ticket sales could be caused by the increase in disposable income among the customers. Moreover, he should consider other factors such as roles of marketing. Did he carry out any marketing strategies? Were there other factors such as change in age limits? Answers to such questions can help in determining the major cause of increase in ticket sales owing to the creation of the new waterslide.

            According to (Magee, 2014) causation can be defined as the process of causing something to happen. The author further asserts the need to create a time order when determining causal relationships between two variables; establish relationships and rule out alternatives. Bob must not conclude that the creation of new waterside led to an increase in ticket sales. This is because, the increase could have been a result of other factors such as change in age limits of users of the park, increased advertising efforts or increase in disposable income among his customers owing to favorable economic conditions. It is important that he creates time order by examining his monthly sales over a period of time, while taking into consideration the impact of external factors before reaching at a conclusion about the increase in ticket sales.

            It is important to determine causation while conducting a persuasion research. This is because the mere fact that one event results in a particular observation does not mean the event caused the new developments. Sometimes other factors could be the main causes of the new developments. For example, in the case of the creation of the waterslide, the increase in ticket sales could be as a result of increase in marketing efforts by Bob. Therefore, determining causation is important as it helps in establishment of the actual cause of new happening, helping in reaching at the real cause of events.

Multisensory Priming

            According to (Faivre, Mudrik, Schwartz & Koch, 2014) multisensory priming requires conscious perception. When going to a supermarket or store, the customer always touches the product in order to make a purchase decision. Touching of products helps in making good product evaluations. In the recent event that involved purchase of a dress in a chain store, priming of the senses was crucial in making the purchase. During store purchase of a dress, the priming of sense of smell, touch and vision were important in influencing the purchase. For example, the look of the dress, particularly the bright colors, the lemon smelling fragrance used and the feeling of smooth cotton yarn were influential in making the purchase.

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            When particular sense is primed, it is more likely that I will be persuaded to make a purchase. For example, when the sense of touch is primed, the likelihood of making a purchase is high. The priming of sense of touch is important since the first element of consideration while I am making a purchase is quality, then color. This is because touch helps in knowing the quality of the material used and the ability to achieve comfort based on the texture of the material. However, when multiple senses are primed, the likelihood of making a purchase increases.

            Although knowing texture and quality of material used through priming of the sense of touch is important, when the sense of vision is primed together with the sense of touch, I am more likely to make a purchase more than when a sense of touch alone is primed. In the example of the purchase of a dress in the store, the feeling of the texture was not enough; the color was another element that persuaded the purchase. Several cloths had my favorite color, but the extra priming of sense of touch together with the priming of sense of vision were important in eventually making the purchase. Multiple priming of senses increases the chances that purchase is made.

Compliance Gaining

            Compliance gaining is an act of trying to alter behavior intentionally (Wilson, 2015). There are several principles of compliance gaining, which includes altercation, assertion, altruism, aversive simulation, authority appeal and bargaining, among others. The two of the principles of compliance that I feel are most effective are altercation and authority appeal (Magee, 2014). The principles of compliance gaining can be used to alter behavior with varying successes.       

            The altercation principle can be negative or positive. Negative altercation involves pointing to others that it is only bad people who would not do what is wanted. Positive altercation involves getting compliance by pointing that only good people will do what is wanted. The groups of people who would most be susceptible to this principle of compliance include young children. The principle of authority appeal involves getting people to comply on basis of the authority that an individual possesses. The groups of people who would be more susceptible to this kind of compliance include military personnel and police officers.

            The altercation tactic is effective among children because they lack enough knowledge to distinguish between the good or bad but rely on the elderly for direction. This tactic is effective in shaping their behavior and creation of compliance because they believe the elderly have better knowledge to advise them on the good or bad. The use of authoritative principle is effective because the success of outcomes among the police and military depend on the influence tactics employed. Using authoritative compliance is effective as it leads to increased compliance. An example where compliance tactics have been employed has been in trying to shape the behavior of my niece. The positive authoritative compliance was employed and it was effective as my niece changed and complied with the accepted behavior.


            The concept of dissonance can be simply defined as a situation that involves conflicting behaviors, beliefs and or attitudes. This feeling can lead to alteration of behaviors, attitudes or beliefs in order to alter the discomfort (Wicklund & Brehm, 2013). One example of a recent decision that led me to experience dissonance was when I received a phone call from my friend and hanged up on him before he was done with the conversation. My friend and I had planned to go out for a walk during the weekend.

However, as time approached, he called and told me that he could not make to come as he had promised earlier. Before he could finish giving me the reasons, I reacted angrily and hang up on him. The main source of my anger was that we had planned for the walk and it had failed twice and he would always give me reasons. I felt I could not listen this time to his perceived “lies”. I would later regret and felt guilty for my behavior as I later learned his dad had been involved in an accident and it would have been better comforting than hanging up on him. The main causes of the dissonance were external forces, as it was believed as right to hang up on him as it would show the level of dissatisfaction that could be caused when an individual fails to meet his part of an agreement. In order to reduce the dissonance, I had to justify my actions that it was not my fault because I did not know what had occurred and his past failure to honor our plan was responsible for my prejudgment. However, I had to change my decision and later realized that I was wrong to make premature judgments before our conversation was over. I had to accept that I was wrong and pledged never to hand up on anyone before I hear their whole statement.

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