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Now in its sixth edition, Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining continues to boast an accessible voice and vibrant aesthetic that appeals to undergraduate students of communication, psychology, advertising, and marketing. In addition to presenting established theories and models, this text encourages students to develop and apply general conclusions about persuasion in real-world settings. Along the way, students are introduced to the practice of social influence in an array of contexts (e.g., advertising, marketing, politics, interpersonal relationships, social media, groups) and across a variety of topics (e.g., credibility, personality, deception, motivational appeals, visual persuasion). The new edition features an expanded treatment of digital and social media, up-to-date research on theory and practice, and enhanced discussions of topics such as political campaigning, emotional marketing, olfactory influence, and ethics. Instructors can also use the book’s downloadable test bank, instructor’s manual, and PowerPoint slides in preparing course material.

Robert H. Gass is Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at California State University, Fullerton, USA.

John S. Seiter is Professor in the Department of Languages, Philosophy, and Communication Studies at Utah State University, USA.


Persuasion Social Influence and Compliance Gaining Sixth Edition

Robert H. Gass John S. Seiter


Sixth edition published 2018

by Routledge

711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017

and by Routledge

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Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business

© 2018 Taylor & Francis

The right of Robert H. Gass and John S. Seiter to be identified as authors of this work has been asserted by them in

accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic,

mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information

storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for

identification and explanation without intent to infringe.

First edition published by Pearson Education, Inc. 2002

Fifth edition published by Routledge 2016

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

Names: Gass, Robert H., author. | Seiter, John S., author.

Title: Persuasion : social influence, and compliance gaining /

Robert H. Gass, John S. Seiter.

Description: Sixth edition. | New York, NY : Routledge, 2018.

Identifiers: LCCN 2017042512| ISBN 9781138630598 (hardback) |

ISBN 9781138630611 (pbk.)

Subjects: LCSH: Persuasion (Psychology) | Influence (Psychology) |

Manipulative behavior.

Classification: LCC BF637.P4 G34 2018 | DDC 153.8/52—dc23

LC record available at

ISBN: 978-0-8153-5821-3 (hbk)

ISBN: 978-1-138-63061-1 (pbk)

ISBN: 978-1-315-20930-2 (ebk)

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by Florence Production Ltd, Stoodleigh, Devon, UK

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To Banjo and Julep, my two English Setters, who keep me company when I’m writing at home.

Bob Gass

To Miss Gordon, my second-grade teacher, for knowing that self-concept is the proper starting place.

John Seiter

To our families—Susan, Jordan, Graham, Debora, Dean, Andy, and Christian—for doing without us when we were writing and for putting up with us when we weren’t.

Robert Gass and John Seiter




Preface for the Sixth Edition Acknowledgments

Why Study Persuasion?

Aims and Goals

Persuasion Is Not a Dirty Word

Persuasion Is Our Friend

The Pervasiveness of Persuasion: You Can Run but You Can’t Hide

Tipping Points, Buzz Marketing, and Word of Mouth

Nudges: Sometimes Less Is More

New Persuasion: Digital and Online Influence

eWOM: Digital Buzz

Sponsored Content: The Native Advertisers Are Getting Restless

Opinion Mining and Sentiment Tracking: I Feel You

Gamification: You’ve Got Game

Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding: Lending a Helping Hand

Persuasive Technology: My Heart Says Yes, but My Watch Says No

Persuasion in the Sciences

Persuasion in the Arts

Other Not-So-Obvious Contexts for Persuasion

Weird Persuasion

Persuasion in Interpersonal Settings

Five Benefits of Studying Persuasion

The Instrumental Function: Be All That You Can Be

The Knowledge and Awareness Function: Inquiring Minds Want to Know

The Defensive Function: Duck and Cover

The Debunking Function: Puh-Shaw




Well-Being and Self-Worth: I Feel Good

Two Criticisms of Persuasion

Does Learning About Persuasion Foster Manipulation?

Are Persuasion Findings Too Inconsistent or Confusing?

Ethical Concerns About the Use of Persuasion

What Constitutes Persuasion?

Pure Versus Borderline Cases of Persuasion

Limiting Criteria for Defining Persuasion



Free Will and Conscious Awareness

Symbolic Action

Interpersonal Versus Intrapersonal

A Model of the Scope of Persuasion

The Context for Persuasion

A Working Definition of Persuasion

So What Isn’t Persuasion?

Dual Processes of Persuasion

The Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion

The Heuristic Systematic Model of Persuasion

The Unimodel of Persuasion

Attitudes and Consistency

What Is an “Attitude” in 20 Words or Less?

So How Do You Measure the Durn Things?

Explicit Measures: Self-Report Scales

Visually Oriented Scales

Pitfalls in Measuring Attitudes

Implicit Measures: What’s Rattling Around Inside Your Brain?

More Roundabout Ways of Measuring Attitudes

Physiological Measures of Attitude

The Reasoned Action Approach (RAA)

Behavioral Beliefs and Attitudes: Believe It or Not

Normative Beliefs: It’s What the Cool Kids Are Doing



Perceived Behavioral Control: I Got This

The Persistence of Attitudes

Attitudes as Associative Networks: Your Mind Is a Web

Manufacturing Favorable Associations: Jiggling the Web

Brands and Branding: That’s the Life

Who Are You Wearing? Brand Personality

Authenticity: Keeping It Real

Cause-Related Marketing: The Feel-Good Factor



Psychological Consistency

The Inner Peace of Consistency

Methods of Maintaining Consistency

Marketing Strategies: How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

Brand Loyalty: Accept No Substitute

Write and Tell Us Why You Love This Book in 24 Words or Less

Marketing Inconsistency

Capitalizing on Inconsistency

Cognitive Dissonance Theory (CDT)

Cognitive Dissonance and Buyer’s Remorse

Polarization of Alternatives

Cognitive Dissonance, Self-Image, and Culture

Factors That Affect the Magnitude of Dissonance

Dissonance and Persuasion: Putting It All Together

Forbidden Fruit: Psychological Reactance

Counterattitudinal Advocacy: Playing Devil’s Advocate

I’m All In: Increasing Commitment

Commitments Can “Grow Legs”


Celebrity Selling Power: The Answer Is in the Stars

The Match-Up Hypothesis: Why Jonah Hill Should Not Be Revlon’s Spokesperson

Catch a Falling Star

What Is Credibility?

Credibility Is a Receiver-Based Construct


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