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Persuasion in Communication: Critical Journal Reviews

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    Persuasion in Communication: Critical Journal Reviews


                There are many reasons why individuals communicate with one another.  One of these reasons is to persuade the listener or recipient of the message to enact some form of action or carry a belief that the recipient of the message would have otherwise not do or think prior to the communication process.  This paper will present analysis of three different articles on how persuasive communication is conducted in various scenarios.  The first article will discuss the role of emotions in persuasive communication and how this is utilized during political campaigns.  The second article will discuss how persuasive communication can be used as a form of deception.  The third article will discuss what persuades consumers to purchase goods online, specifically in eBay.

    The role of emotions in persuasive communication

                Ted Bradner’s (2005) article, “Striking a responsive chord: how political ads motivate and persuade voters by appealing to emotions,” he had presented the premise that politicians would often try to appeal to the emotions of citizens rather than to their reason during their political campaigns, primarily to persuade the voters to choose them as their candidate.

                The study conducted by the author aimed to improve the understanding of the casual links between advertising, emotional and political behavior.  This study was due to the fact that little is known about the effects of emotional appeals as a form of persuasive communication.  Critics have viewed that emotions play a crucial role in an individual’s reasoning leading to influencing the voting behavior of Americans in the country.  They went on further to speculate that political ads are designed to trick people into acting contrary to their interests on the basis of untruths since they persuade the public by appealing to their emotions (Brader 2005).

                Based on the study conducted by the author, it was concluded that political campaign advertisements use images and music to manipulate emotions to affect the behavior of the voters.  The study showed that if the campaigns make use of enthusiastic-eliciting music and images, these result to voters showing a greater interest in the campaign of the political candidate and are more willing to vote and vice-versa if the campaign uses negative images and music (Brader 2005).

    Persuasive communication as a form of deception

                In line with the first article, Rudanko’s article “Concepts for analyzing deception in discourse intended to be persuasive” further discusses the role of persuasive communication as a form of deception in order for the recipient of the message to adopt a particular course of action.  The article uses two scenes from two Shakespeare plays for the study.  The first is Act II scenes 2 and 3 of the drama “Julius Caesar” and Act II scene 3 from the drama “Othello” (Rudanko 2007).

                The study was based on the premise that unlike ordinary interactions in communication where there is only one level of discourse where the speaker directly addresses the intended message to the recipient of the message, when a speaker aims to deceive the recipient of the message, the speaker has underlying intentions which the speaker does not disclose the intended purpose for the communication.  In the case in the play “Julius Caesar,” Decius, as one of the conspirators for the assassination of Caesar, persuades Caesar to come to the Capitol in spite of Calphurnia’s warning not to proceed.  Decius’ primary intention is to bring Caesar to the Capitol in order to kill him.  However, he managed to persuade Caesar to go to the Capitol by citing other pertinent reasons for him to do so, such as the consequence of the Senate mocking Caesar for basing his decisions on the dreams of his wife and calling him a coward (Rudanko 2007).

                In the story of “Othello,” Cassio was advised by Iago to plead to Othello’s wife Desdemonda to reinstate him as Lieutenant.  However, in his soliloquy, Iago reveals his true intentions, which is to bring Cassio and Desdemona’s downfall, and if possible to bring Othello down along with them (Rudanko 2007).

                In both cases, the author was able to show how persuasion can be used as a form of deception in order to achieve personal gain.  The scenes in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” and “Othello” show the significant roles that concealed motives and intentions provide a framework for analyzing this type of deception attention to the question on whether the objective for relating the message is as how the message is given or serving a different purpose (Rudanko 2007).

    Persuasion in consumers to purchase goods online

                Due to the ability of people to deceive as mentioned in the second article, this last article written by White and her colleagues entitled “Understanding persuasive online sales messages from eBay auctions” college students were studied on how they are persuaded in purchasing goods by marketers.  For this study, the authors used college students to rate products in eBay based on how they are presented whether the advertisements utilize photos of the actual products, the usage of scanned photos from catalogues and the absence of photos in the advertisements.  The authors also studied how grammatical errors in the advertisements persuaded the students in favoring the product (White, Clapper, Noel, Fortier & Grabolosa 2007).

                The study showed that students found that advertisements that utilized the actual photos of the products and those without any grammatical errors are favored more than those who used photos from catalogues and those that have grammatical errors.  The study concluded that consumers tend to be more critical about purchasing items on the Internet.  This is because unlike face-to-face auctions, the items being auctioned are presented to the audience for them to see (White, Clapper, Noel, Fortier & Grabolosa 2007).


                The three articles presented showed how persuasive communication is used in different aspects of society, namely in political campaigns, everyday communication, literature and in marketing.  The goal of persuasive communication is to influence the receiver of the message to perform some type of action or belief that is intended by the speaker.

                Brader has shown how emotion is used as part of persuasive communication.  Studies have shown that it is utilized by political campaigners as a means to persuade voters to vote for them.  This form of action has been considered as deceptive by critics.  This was further justified by the Rudanko by exemplifying how deception is utilized as a form of persuasive communication through different scenes from two of Shakespeare’s plays.  However, White and her colleagues have shown that audience is not as gullible as how the previous two articles have shown.  In fact, the public today is more critical with regards to the information that they receive and that they do not just take the information provided to them at face value.

                With the Presidential elections nearing, it is imperative for students to be more aware of how candidates try to persuade the American public in order to win the elections.  Through this, students and other voters would be able to be more critical of the information being provided as well as to be able to choose the rightful candidate to win the next election.


    Brader, T. (April 2005). Striking a responsive chord: how political ads motivate and persuade

    voters by appealing to emotions. American journal of political science 49(2), 388-


    Rudanko, J. (2007). Concepts for analyzing deception in discourse intended to be persuasive:

    two case studies from Shakespearean drama. Journal of historical pragmatics, 8(1),


    White, B. J., Clapper, D., Noel, R. Fortier, J. & Grabolosa, P. (December 2007).

    Understanding persuasive online sales messages from eBay auctions. Business

    communication Quarterly, 70(4), 482-487


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