Message factors: Structure and format
1. (a) What does the research evidence suggest about the relative persuasive effectiveness of stating the message’s conclusion explicitly as opposed to omitting the conclusion (leaving the conclusion implicit)? (b) Does this difference vary depending on the audience’s educational level? Does it vary depending on the audience’s initial favorability toward the advocated view? (c) Describe a possible explanation for the observed effect.
2. (a) What does the research evidence suggest about the relative persuasive effectiveness of providing a general (as opposed to a more specific) description of the advocated action? (b) Describe two possible explanations for the observed effect.
3. (a) What is a narrative? Explain why studying the role of narratives in persuasion can be challenging. Describe some different forms that narrative messages can take; describe some different forms that non-narrative messages can take. (b) Can narratives be more persuasive than nonnarrative messages? Are narratives generally more persuasive than nonnarrative messages? Identify two factors that influence the persuasiveness of narratives. (c) What is character identification? What is the effect of character identification on narrative persuasiveness? (d) What is transportation? What is the effect of transportation on narrative persuasiveness? What is known about the mechanism by which transportation affects narrative persuasiveness? What is known about the factors that influence the likelihood of transportation? (e) What is entertainment-education? Give examples. Describe two forms that entertainment-education can take. Describe two ways in which the persuasive effects of entertainment-education programs can come about.
4. (a) What is a prompt? Give examples. (b) Identify two necessary conditions for prompts to be effective in influencing behavior. Why is an existing positive attitude such a condition? Why is sufficiently high perceived behavioral control (PBC, self-efficacy) such a condition)? (c) Can prompts be cost-effective? Explain.
Message factors: Content
5. (a) What is a consequence-based argument? How do variations in the perceived desirability of the consequences affect the persuasiveness of such arguments? Give examples. (b) What is individualism-collectivism? Explain how cultural differences in individualism-collectivism are reflected in corresponding differences in the relative persuasiveness of different persuasive messages. What kind of appeals, individualist or collectivist, are more persuasive to recipients in individualist cultures? To recipients in collectivist cultures? (c) What is “consideration of future consequences” (CFC)? Explain how individual differences in CFC are reflected in corresponding differences in the relative persuasiveness of different persuasive messages. What kind of appeals, those to long-term consequences or those to short-term consequences, are more persuasive to recipients who are high in CFC? To those low in CFC? (d) Explain the difference (for health behavior messages) between appeals based on health consequences and appeals based on non-health consequences. For encouraging health behaviors, what kind of appeals, those emphasizing health consequences or those emphasizing non-health consequences, are in general more persuasive? Explain.
6. (a) What is a one-sided message? A two-sided message? Which is generally more persuasive? (b) Distinguish two varieties of two-sided messages. What is a refutational two-sided message? What is a nonrefutational two-sided message?
7. Comparing one-sided messages and refutational two-sided messages, which generally is more persuasive? Which is generally more credible? Identify an implicit limiting condition on the occurrence of these differences.
8. (a) In advertising contexts, how do one-sided messages and nonrefutational two-sided messages differ in persuasiveness? In credibility? Outside advertising contexts (that is, in “nonadvertising” messages), how do one-sided messages and nonrefutational two-sided messages differ in persuasiveness? In credibility? (b) What might explain the observed differences between advertising messages and other persuasive messages in how nonrefutational two-sided messages work? Explain how skepticism about advertising (and corresponding expectations about the nature of advertising messages) might underlie the different effects of nonrefutational two-sided messages in advertising contexts as opposed to nonadvertising contexts.