Message Variations and Persuasive Effects

a course offered at the
Netherlands National Graduate School of Linguistics (LOT)
(Landelijke Onderzoekschool Taalwetenschap)
June 2013


Professor: Daniel J. O’Keefe


Brief description:  Persuasion is a ubiquitous communicative function. Social-scientific experimental research has explored a number of factors influencing the effectiveness of persuasive messages (including characteristics of the communicator and of the message recipient); this course focuses on the role of message properties in persuasion. Topics covered include theoretically-informed message design, the conceptualization of message effects, barriers to dependable generalization about persuasive effects, and the findings from research on several well-studied message variations.


For general background preparation (if needed):  D. J. O’Keefe, Persuasion: Theory and research (2nd ed., paperback, Sage) (ISBN 0-7619-2539-2)


Brief outline of topics:
Lecture 1: theoretically-informed persuasive message design

Lecture 2: conceptualizing message properties and effects

Lecture 3: generalizing about message effects

Lecture 4: assorted message variations part 1

Lecture 5: assorted message variations part 2

Detailed outline of topics and readings



Daniel J. O'Keefe home page
Daniel J. O'Keefe email