Student Resources: Alphabetical Glossary

Ad hominem: When the person, rather than the idea, is attacked.
Advertorials: Corporate-paid editorial advertisements as part of a corporate issue advocacy campaign.
Agenda setting: In news reporting, tells us what is important versus unimportant.
Anchoring biases: The starting points for thought processes, where we start with what we know, or at least think we know.
Apologia: A rhetorical form in which a persuader seeks to apologize for wrongful actions and persuade the audience to forgive the transgression.
Asymmetrical conflict: A conflict between antagonists having unequal power.
Attitudes: General evaluations, whether favorable or unfavorable.
Authority: Cialdini’s principle of influence and persuasion suggesting that expressed liking and authority can be powerful motivators.
Banality of evil, the: Writing on Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem, philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt (1978) was struck by how ordinary Eichmann seemed. Obedience was highly valued, expected, and required in Eichmann’s organization; hence he considered himself virtuous. Operating well within the range of sanity and normality, he was simply a thoughtless man doing his job. Arendt coined the term the banality of evil to refer to this man without an ethical frame.
Behavioral targeting (BT): Taking information from a user (her recent browsing patterns) and feeding back to her ads that are more relevant to her immediate needs and interests. We only need to visit an online retailer like to experience BT, where once we set up an account, we are welcomed to the site and greeted with recommendations for books, videos, and other goods that may hold interest for us. These recommendations are gleaned from our searches and purchases.
Beliefs: What we each personally consider to be true or probable.
Big Rhetoric: The globalist view encourages us to look for evidences of non-obvious rhetorical motives, meanings, and methods. At the very least, it proposes we entertain the “hypothesis” of a rhetorical presence or dimension in all that we humans say and do.
Brainwashing: An effort to demolish a belief system or ideology through (1) unfreezing current beliefs, (2) transforming beliefs through new definitions, perceptions, and judgments, and (3) refreezing the transformed belief system to replace the old.
Burden of proof: Proponents of change, such as prosecutors in a law court, have the burden of demonstrating that something is seriously wrong with the system or policy. This stands in contrast to the obligation of defenders of the status quo, who have the burden of refutation.
Burden of refutation: In contrast to proponents of change who have the burden of proof, defenders of the status quo have a lesser obligation, called the burden of refutation.
BVA theory: Incorporates five postulates: (1) Beliefs include judgments that a given object possesses certain attributes. (2) Values include judgments of the worth of these perceived attributes. (3) Attitudes combine our relevant beliefs about an object with our value judgments about the attributes that we associate with the object. (4) The stronger our beliefs about positively valued attributes, the more favorable should be our attitude toward that object. (5) The stronger our beliefs about negatively valued attributes, the less favorable our attitudes.
Cardstacking: Selecting only information that supports the persuader’s point of view. All communication involves some omission because not everything can be said about an object. But omission can also be used to deliberately hide or conceal information. Some other common cases of omission involve telling a half-truth and quoting someone out of context.
Causal claims: In reference to proposition of fact, there are three types of claims (causal, predictive, and historical). A causal claim seeks to establish cause-effect links. An example: Capital punishment deters crime.
Characterological persuasion: Persuasive appeals built around “trust me” stories about the persuader’s virtues.
Chronemics: The study of how time communicates.
Circumscribed faculty advocacy: The view that professors should not take positions in a one-sided, dogmatic manner. Rather, they should provide full and fair background on the controversy, including presentation of opposing positions. Only then should they profess, but even then they are obligated not to impose their views, not to reward conformity, not to preach or proselytize, and not to intimidate or otherwise coerce. This view stands in contrast to liberatory faculty advocacy.
Classical conditioning: Involves early research on animal learning, where a previously neutral stimulus was paired with a stimulus known to evoke favorable or unfavorable reactions. Then the original stimulus was removed. In this way, the hungry dogs in Pavlov’s animal laboratory learned to salivate at the sound of a bell previously linked with food.
Closed-minded movements: Organizations that exhibit absolutistic, totalistic, and dogmatic thinking. Their ideological claims are offered as revealed truths and are presented impersonally and authoritatively. Rather than questioning these “truths,” members are expected to swallow them whole and to compensate for gaps in their leaders’ logic by supplying missing premises. Groups such as these are insular, xenophobic, and frequently paranoid. The world external to the movement is seen as sinister and threatening. Members, too, are seen as sinners or as prone to ideological backsliding, but there is the promise for members of redemption and salvation through acts of contrition and purification.
Coactive approach to psychotherapy: Holds a view of the therapist as one who helps the patient construct a version of the truth (a “frame”), one that will be more productive for the patient than the perspective that helps perpetuate and perhaps aggravate the patient’s problems. This pragmatic orientation assumes that there is no single truth about problems and their causes but rather multiple truths or perspectives.
Coactive persuasion: An umbrella term for the ways that persuaders work to move toward persuadees psychologically so that they will be moved, in turn, to accept the persuaders’ position or proposal for action.
Code-transgressing ad: A type of anti-ad that transgresses the codes by which we have learned to “read” advertising. Although traditional ads link their product with some desirable trait (beauty, innovation, etc.) and then invite consumers to identify with this idealized image, these anti-ads appeal to people who “know better” than to identify with such idealized images. A recent clever example of this trend is an ad campaign by Post Shredded Wheat’s “We put the ‘no’ in innovation” ad.
Common-ground appeals: Involve starting from premises that persuaders themselves accept, which are used to then make a point of emphasizing those points of agreement that they share with their audience.
Communication activism: Engaged in by famous or regular people who use their persuasive powers ethically to make the world a better place. They live as advocates, involved in informed and serious engagement that makes the college and the community a better place, realizing that persuasion can be employed every day as a force for improving our world.
Compliance gaining: Tactics used to effect changes in overt behavior, not just in beliefs, values, or attitudes.
Confirmation biases: Occur when, rather than altering their beliefs, subjects seek and find confirmatory evidence in support of their prior beliefs and ignore or reinterpret counter-evidence.
Consistency: Cialdini’s principle of influence and persuasion suggesting that once we make a choice or take a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment.
Contesting: The period of the general campaign, generally from Labor Day until Election Day.
Contrast: Cialdini’s principle of influence and persuasion suggesting that the order of occurrence of social stimuli can make a difference in how we perceive them.
Corporate issue advocacy campaigns: Public relations campaigns where a corporation takes a public stand on controversial issues, seeking, for example, to influence public opinion on environmental policy, public health and safety, or taxation and regulation by government.
Counterhegemonic Position: The position adopted by critics such as David Horowitz, who charge that universities have run amok; that they have become overly politicized by militant feminists and other left-wing professors who have been using the academic classroom as a platform to spout their causes.
Crisis management campaigns: Public relations campaigns where corporations deal with emergencies of one type or another—unexpected events or circumstances that demand urgent action. These can include crises such as an oil spill, a train wreck, an industrial explosion. Or the campaign attempts to manage ethical crises such as allegations of wrongdoing, a product recall combined with charges of negligence, complaints of inappropriate business practices, rumors of corruption in political office, or complaints of abuse of office or of a cover-up.
Curse of knowledge, the: Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has cursed us. Because of the curse of knowledge, we find it difficult to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re-create our listener’s state of mind.
Data mining: Sifting through very large amounts of data for useful information. Data mining uses artificial intelligence techniques and advanced statistical tools to reveal trends, patterns, and relationships, which might otherwise have remained undetected.
Decide how to fight: One of Cynthia Shar’s four cardinal rules of self-management in conflict situations.
Decide when to fight: One of Cynthia Shar’s four cardinal rules of self-management in conflict situations.
Decide whether to fight: One of Cynthia Shar’s four cardinal rules of self-management in conflict situations.
Decide why to fight: One of Cynthia Shar’s four cardinal rules of self-management in conflict situations.
Demagoguery: Impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace.
Demographic analysis: Involves analyzing the audience prior to a speech, examining demographic components such as sex, age, and socioeconomic status and evaluating their impact on message reception.
Demographics: The study of socioeconomic groups, each of which comprises a market niche. The groups are characterized by age, income, sex, education, occupation, etc.
Devil words: Societal symbols of derision and group dis-identification that stand in contrast to god words. When a society strongly identifies with its god words and strongly “dis-identifies” with its devil words, its values become highly resistant to change because they are no longer even regarded as values.
Dialogic ethics: An ethical perspective that treats the other person as a “thou”, a person, rather than as an “it”, an object to manipulate.
Digital immigrant: People who were born prior to the digital revolution, who have adopted many aspects of the technology, but just like those who learn another language later in life, retain an “accent” because they still have one foot in the past.
Digital native: People who have grown up during the digital revolution, who are “native speakers” of technology, fluent in the digital language of computers, video games, and the internet.
Dominant cultural ideologies (DCIs): The systems of beliefs and values that go unquestioned in a society.
Door-in-the-face (DITF) technique: A variant of the reciprocity principle is the rejection-then-retreat approach, sometimes known as the door-in-the-face (DITF) technique. This approach involves making an extreme request of a potential donor, favor giver, or authority figure. Then, having placed the persuadee in a position where she or he is likely to turn you down, you come through with a comparatively more reasonable request.
Doublespeak: Language intentionally used to mislead. According to William Lutz (1989), four types of doublespeak are prevalent in contemporary culture: euphemism, jargon, gobbledygook, and inflated language.
Duplicity: Contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action. The technically incorrect use of two or more distinct ideas. The belying of one's true intentions by deceptive words or actions.
Ego involvement: A measure of how emotionally and personally invested an individual is in a situation. High ego involvement strengthens beliefs and attitude commitments, making them much harder to dislodge and much easier to reinforce.
Elaboration likelihood model (ELM): Posits that persuasion is a consequence not just of external cues but also of the thoughts that the persuadee generates in response to external communications. Fundamental to the ELM approach is the distinction between central and peripheral routes to persuasion.
Enthymeme: A form of speech that invites the reader to supply and endorse premises that are missing from the argument but left implicit. It is a truncated argument that rests on a premise or premises it assumes its audience will accept. Virtually all persuasive discourse is enthymematic, as Aristotle observed long ago.
Episodic news frame: Takes “the form of a case study or event-oriented report and depicts public issues in terms of concrete instances” (Iyengar, 1991).
Ethnographic inquiry: Involves analyzing the audience prior to a speech by talking with audience members or persons similar to them, and learning from them what their attitudes are concerning the position or action we’ll be defending.
Ethnography: Posits that people are best understood when observed in the fullest context possible; the goal is to study humans where they live, seeing how they make a living, looking at how they deal with the need for food, housing, energy and water, observing their customs and language, and so on. Today, advertisers are beginning to employ ethnographic methods in an attempt to make the shift away from simple focus groups or in-house “behind the two-way mirror” consumer observation.
Ethos: A persuader’s personal credibility.
Euphemism: Language used to make an unpleasant reality more acceptable.
Evaluative consistency: The impulse to bring our beliefs, values, or attitudes into line with our commitments, especially our expressed, public commitments. For example, if we’ve bet on a horse to win, we want to believe that it will win. If we value our lives, we want to believe that we will be immortal. This form of consistency stands in contrast to probabilistic consistency.
Expectancy-value theories: Posit that humans act rationally in aligning their beliefs about the future with their values.
Expression games: Contests over control, and detection of control, of our expressive behaviors.
Expressivist social movement: A movement that seeks to change individuals, believing that institutions are created by people, and so they can be changed only by changes in people.
Fallacies: Arguments that fail to stand up to careful scrutiny. At first blush, fallacies appear convincing, perhaps even compelling, and that is what makes them persuasive. But, upon examination, cracks begin to appear.
Foot-in-the-door (FITD) technique: A variant of the consistency principle, where a persuader secures a modest commitment as a prelude to a far bigger one. Demonstrated through research, an experimenter posing as a volunteer campaigner went door-to-door in a residential neighborhood asking homeowners to accept placement on their front lawns of a large billboard with the words “Drive Carefully.” Nearly all in this control group refused. In a comparison group, which had been visited two weeks earlier by a different volunteer worker and had been asked to display a little three-inch square sign saying “Be a Safe Driver,” those visited complied with the subsequent request by a margin of three to one when compared with the control group.
Frame: A frame is one among a number of possible ways of seeing something, and a reframing is a way of seeing it differently; in effect changing its meaning.
Framing: In news reporting, focuses our attention on certain events and then presents them in a way that gives them meaning.
Glittering generalities: Words that seek to make us approve or accept without examining the evidence.
Global village: Marshall McLuhan’s terms for a world connected in real time thanks to media technology.
Globalized rhetoric hypothesis: Proposes a rhetorical presence or dimension in all that humans say and do, and argues that there are many gray areas where persuasion is present, but it is subtle or veiled.
Gobbledygook: Language used when a persuader attempts to overload the audience with long, complex sentences that sound impressive but actually don’t make any sense.
God words: Societal symbols of approval and group identification that stand in contrast to devil words. When a society strongly identifies with its god words and strongly “dis-identifies” with its devil words, its values become highly resistant to change because they are no longer even regarded as values.
Haptics: Refers to the tactile channel of communication, the arena of touch.
Heuristics: Cognitive shorthands, involving peripheral processing; “Rules of thumb”, educated guesses, intuitive judgments or common sense.
Historical claims: In reference to proposition of fact, there are three types of claims (causal, predictive, and historical). A historical claim seeks to establish what has happened in the past. An example: Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole assassin of John F. Kennedy.
Human-scale principle, the: Bringing statistics to life by contextualizing them in terms that are more human, more everyday. For example, a speaker encounters a workplace statistic that only 37% of employees say they have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why. Using the human-scale principle, a speaker would say “If a soccer team had these same scores, only 4 of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs.”
Hypercommunication phase of advertising (2000–today): In our current era, we’ve entered the age of stimuli bombardment, visual saturation, sound bites, and microscopic attention spans, where the number of images and voices shouting for our attention has accelerated beyond critical mass. The result of contemporary technological realities is that there are five major shifts that have taken place: time, place, area, speed, and power. The resulting effect is fragmentation of the public mind, and the era in which we find ourselves can be suitably called the era of hypercommunication.
Iconology phase of advertising (1920–1940): The period when advertisers began to move beyond simply promoting a product’s attributes and began to focus on what products represented. During this period, advertising agencies became professionalized and through market research, learned how different target groups perceived products in relation to themselves. One popular technique during this era was the consumer testimonial.
Idolatry phase of advertising (1890–1910): Advertising assumed its modern form at the end of the 19th century, when goods manufactured in industrial settings began to replace the locally produced and individually crafted goods of traditional societies. Manufacturers hired advertisers to extol the virtues of products, primarily through print media. Using rational selling strategies, these ads provided the “reasons why” consumers should use a product, and they associated goods with practical characteristics such as utility, low price, and efficiency.
Implicit activation (of nationalism): Involves things like the possibility of socialization or re-socialization campaigns that incrementally shape our beliefs about who “we” are. When Americans celebrate July 4th in the United States, for example, with flags, parades, ceremonies, and fireworks, feelings of patriotism and nationalism will likely arise within most of them. No one has to say directly: “You must feel patriotically about the United States.” The message is implicit in the images, and it is activated within the individuals.
Implicit nationalism: Nationalism is an ideology, a system of ideas that unites a group of people around its guiding beliefs and values, while dividing them from others. It causes them to see the others as “outsiders,” “aliens,” “foreigners,” and the like. Implicit nationalism is based on subtle things in the environment, such as a national flag hanging from the entrance to a building, that demonstrate the nationalism that exists.
Impression management: Involves our efforts to influence how we are perceived. We quietly seek to influence thinking, both our own and that of others.
Indexicality: This is present, said Charles Peirce, when a sign has some physical connection to the object or event to which it refers. Examples include fingerprints, footprints, weather vanes, and thermostats. Photography is yet another example. One of the ironies of photography (and of film and video) is that it can distort reality although, by virtue of its indexicality, it impresses us with its apparent truthfulness.
Indoctrination campaigns: Persuasive campaigns seeking to change belief and ideology. Indoctrination campaigns are called by many names: “informational” or “educational” or “propaganda.” They are sometimes accused of using “mind control” or “subliminal persuasion.” It is not uncommon that groups engaged in such campaigns get labeled as “cults” by opponents of the ideological perspective presented by the campaign.
Inflated language: Language designed to make the ordinary and mundane seem important or to make things that are simple seem quite complicated.
Information gap theory: Suggests that curiosity occurs when we feel a gap in our knowledge between what we know and what we want to know; the gap actually causes a kind of pain—like an itch we need to scratch. This unexpected arousal of curiosity focuses our attention and causes information to stick.
Insufficient justification: Involves a reversal of the ordinary process of persuasion, where messages first alter our attitudes and then go on to subsequently change our behavior. Under conditions of insufficient justification, people work to modify their attitudes to bring them into line with their actions.
Jargon: Specialized language of a trade or profession. When used as a downplaying tactic, however, jargon often obscures meaning and makes simple things seem complex.
Kinesics: Non-verbal communication involving the visual channel, includes posture, gestures, fidgeting, and other body movements, as well as eye behavior and facial expressions.
Knowing wink ad: A type of anti-ad that communicates directly with the audience in an obvious or subtle fashion, breaking the theatrical “fourth wall” for comic effect. The “fourth wall” refers to the imaginary boundary at the front of the stage in a theater through which the audience sees the action in the world of the play. The term also applies to the boundary between any fictional setting and its audience. A contemporary example of such an ad campaign is provided by the commercials for, featuring a young slacker singing about various life problems.
Latitude of acceptance: From social judgment-involvement theory, these are the positions the receiver can agree with; proposals falling within this zone are assimilated. That is, they are seen as more similar to one’s favorite position than they really are. Ego involvement shrinks the latitudes of acceptance and neutrality and widens the latitude of rejection.
Latitude of neutrality: From social judgment-involvement theory, these are the positions about which the receiver feels indifferent.
Latitude of rejection: From social judgment-involvement theory, these are the positions the receiver disagrees with; proposals falling within this zone are difficult to assimilate. That is, they are seen as more different from the speaker’s position than they really are. Ego involvement shrinks the latitudes of acceptance and neutrality and widens the latitude of rejection.
Law of cognitive response: Employing tactics to first disrupt any negative thoughts and second direct and channel the thoughts of an audience so that they will be agreeable to a point of view.
Legitimating: The period when the candidate accepts the formal nomination of the party.
Liberatory faculty advocacy: The view that professors should take action to correct prevailing biases in society, based on the basis of the belief that historically, European social, cultural and moral ideals have exerted total power (hegemony) over other possible alternatives. This view stands in contrast to circumscribed faculty advocacy.
Liking: Cialdini’s principle of influence and persuasion suggesting that we are more open to persuasion from those with like.
Logos: A persuader’s appeals to logic and reason.
Lose-lose conflict: Conflict in instances such as labor strikes, where both sides lose substantially because they cannot find a way to resolution.
Machiavellianism: The term Machiavellianism derives from Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527), author of The Prince (1513/1977), a renowned guide to political strategy and power. Today, the term refers to communication strategies that appear to be serving audience members but rather are tools to maximize the gains of the person using them. They’re the tools of persons who believe that winning is all.
Made to stick “success” formula: Ideas that stick in the minds of listeners are 1) simple, 2) unexpected, 3) concrete, 4) credible, 5) emotional, and 6) include stories.
Media event: A situation that interrupts routine television programming but cannot itself be interrupted. As such, it is presented not only as a triumph of television, but as a triumph over television, providing “direct access to the world.” Media events alter the usual patterns of viewing: the typically apathetic viewer is replaced by an active viewer, one who assumes responsibility to watch and to bear witness.
Melodramatic crisis rhetoric: Argument framed as a persuasive narrative characterized by exaggerated emotions; flat, one-dimensional characters; and stereotypical interpersonal conflicts.
Method of residues: A form of presentation that presents options and choices, where the final option (“the residue”) appears to be the best and most logical one.
Micromarketing: In contrast to mass marketing, micromarketing seeks to provide products that are “right for me.” Even a product as familiar as Tide, “which has ranked as the country’s biggest-selling laundry detergent ever since Proctor and Gamble Co. took it national in 1949,” has succumbed to the demand for microtargeting. It now comes in dozens of varieties.
Mind control: The process by which individual or collective freedom of choice and action is compromised by agents or agencies that modify or distort perception, motivation, affect, cognition and/or behavioral outcomes. The successful control of the thoughts and actions of another without his or her consent.
Mindful message processing: This takes place when we personally work hard to distinguish facts from assumptions and inferences. It includes a skepticism that falls short of cynicism, a determination to seek out all the evidence, and an awareness of verbal sleights of hand that will make it less likely that we will be taken in by unethical persuasion.
Mindless message processing: The antithesis of mindful message processing: a tendency to create premature cognitive commitments and to allow such commitments to impose “false limits” on our competence and potential.
Mise-en-scéne phase of advertising (1990–2000): During this period, advertisers came to view contemporary life as linked to the theatrical concept of mise-en-scéne. In this phase, advertisers conceived metaphorically of consumers as theater directors who create the scenes of their lives, using products as props. Technological advances lessened the burdens of labor and provided individuals with the impetuous to attempt to write, produce and direct their own lives. But, at the same time, these new technologies also highlighted the fact that there are tens of millions of scripted lives. In an interesting paradox, advertisers worked to persuade us that we could overcome our feelings of global insignificance and direct our own lives by purchasing their mass-produced goods. Their argument was this: It is through the employment of consumer goods that we demonstrate that we are unique.
Multi-dimensional communication: Recognizes that what is said can come in a variety of forms.
Multi-directional communication: Recognizes that messages may have unintended effects on unintended audiences, not least of all on the message sender themselves. Through communication, we also persuade ourselves.
Multi-faceted communication: Recognizes that every utterance about substantive matters (about content) is also an interpersonal encounter that invariably projects an image of the communicator.
Multi-layered communication: Recognizes that “the message” includes not just what is said verbally, but also the source, medium, context, receiver, and accompanying non-verbals.
Multi-motivated communication: Recognizes that communication may operate on multiple levels and may serve multiple functions.
Narcissism phase of advertising (1950–1970): The period when advertising’s focus shifted as emotion was brought clearly into the foreground. Leiss et al. (2005) refer to this period as “narcissistic” because consumers were asked to consider what products could do for them as individuals. They were offered idealized images of satisfied consumers as “mirrors” with whom they might identify. Products promised to transform their users by providing personal change, satisfaction, and the ability to control other people’s judgments with the assistance of a product. This development was facilitated by the arrival of television in 1948, a medium that lent itself to such symbolic appeals.
NESC: A useful mnemonic device for remembering how to organize discussion of a main point: Name it. Explain it. Support it. Conclude it.
“Not-me” phenomenon: The tendency to mistakenly believe that persuasion happens to others, and that we are not susceptible to it.
Nudge theory: A “nudge” is a policy intervention into choice architecture that is easy and inexpensive to avoid, and that alters people’s behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing an individual’s economic incentives.
Nurturant parent frame:George Lakoff argues that Americans metaphorically conceive of politics and policy through the framework of the “family,” with two frames competing for attention: the strict father frame and the nurturant parent frame. The nurturant parent frame focuses on fairness and cooperation.
Objectivist approach to persuasion: An approach grounded in the belief that fact and logic are, and ought to be, the sole arbiters of disputes, wherein persuaders attempt to demonstrate via cold logic and hard fact that their way of thinking is the superior way.
Objectivist approach to psychotherapy: Assumes that there is one best description of the patient’s problems and one best explanation for their causes. The job of the therapist is to help the patient overcome defenses to face up to the disturbing truths denied to consciousness by the patient’s self-deceiving nature.
Omission, diversion, and confusion: Rank’s categories through which persuaders downplay elements of situations they wish to avoid.
Operant conditioning: Involves rewarding desired behavior and withholding rewards—perhaps even using punishments—until the desired behavior is forthcoming.
Optimism bias: The demonstrated systematic tendency for people to be over-optimistic about the outcome of planned actions. This includes over-estimating the likelihood of positive events and under-estimating the likelihood of negative events. In the context of Cialdini, it relates to the notion that we are less susceptible to falling victim to cognitive shorthands than others are.
Optimism biases: Tendencies toward overestimating our performance or displaying overconfidence about evaluations we will receive.
Pathos: A persuader’s appeals to emotion.
Peritrope: An ancient rhetorical technique of turning the tables.
Persuasion: Human communication designed to influence the judgments and actions of others. 
Persuasion dialogue: A communication situation where two or more people get together to discuss an issue. They may have strong opinions on the matter, which they are free to express. Difference of opinion is expected and welcomed, and falsely minimizing differences or pretending to evenhanded objectivity is disingenuous and rejected. The object isn’t to win anything, but to consider matters afresh, without clinging to previously entrenched positions.
Phaedrus, The: A dialogue about love and rhetoric by Plato.
Power-invulnerables: Targets of protest may be labeled as power-invulnerable to the degree to which (a) they lack substantial possessions; (b) they can escape from the source of pressure and (c) they feel no constraints about retaliating against a source. Moderate social movements are effective with power invulnerables.
Power-vulnerables: Targets of protest may be labeled as power-vulnerable to the degree to which (a) they hold possessions of value and therefore have something to lose (e.g., property, status, and high office); (b) they cannot escape from a source’s pressure; and (c) they cannot retaliate against a source (either because of normative or physical constraints). Such targets as university presidents, church leaders, and elected government officials are highly vulnerable—especially if they profess to be “high-minded” or “liberal”—compared with the mass of citizens who may lack substantial possessions, be able to escape, or feel no constraints about retaliating. Militant protests are effective with power-vulnerables.
Predictive claims: In reference to proposition of fact, there are three types of claims (causal, predictive, and historical). A predictive claim seeks to establish what will come into being in the future. An example: A severe shortage of teachers will occur by the year 2020.
Premise: A hook on which to hang an argument.
Pre-persuasion: An approach that argues for a strong persuader who gains influence by taking control of the situation and creating a favorable climate for the message. Pre-persuasion establishes how an issue is defined and discussed, and with such an approach a communicator can influence cognitive responses and obtain consent without even appearing to be attempting to persuade.
Primaries: Elections where political parties select their delegates to their national conventions, and where they select the candidates who will represent the Party in the General Elections. In many states, only registered members of the Party can vote in that Party’s Primary Election, although there are some states that have “open primaries” where any registered voter can cast a ballot.
Priming: Non-conscious activation of knowledge structures; in news reporting, influences our judgments on where to focus our attention.
Privatist approach to persuasion: In fact, a rejection of persuasion, wherein the speaker merely asserts his or her feelings on the matter at hand, offering no reasons, no appeals, and no support for the views of any type. Privatism stems from a deep-seated antipathy toward persuasion. To the privatist, all persuasion is immoral manipulation.
Probabilistic consistency: When we reason correctly from premises to conclusions, from facts to empirical generalizations, and from beliefs and values to attitudes, arriving at a conclusion that is consistent with good reasoning. This stands in contrast to evaluative consistency.
Propaganda: Systematic, sustained, organized and one-sided discourse, aimed at winning over large numbers of people.
Proposition of fact: Debatable assertions that are not in themselves established facts. They are belief claims about what is true or false, for which factual evidence is needed. More often then not, factual claims serve in subordinate roles to propositions of policy.
Proposition of policy: Debatable assertions about what should or should not be done, that make recommendations for action of some sort to be taken in the future. With any proposition of policy, certain recurring questions, called stock issues, are logically relevant.
Proposition of value: Debatable assertions that assert beliefs about what is good or bad, moral or immoral.
Proselytizing: To induce or recruit someone to convert to one's faith, or to join one's party, institution, or cause.
Proxemics: The study of how space and spatial relationships communicate, including eye contact, how close you get to another, or even (in conjunction with the use of space) how loud or soft your voice becomes.
Pseudo non-ad: A type of anti-ad that attempts to downplay or conceal that it is an advertisement by mimicking the codes and conventions associated with non-advertising forms. Through the use of supposedly candid “man on the street” interviews, for example, a corporation works to communicate its message as if it were a conversation among “regular” people.
Psychographics: The study of characteristics or qualities used to denote the lifestyles, purchasing habits, attitudes, and values of a market group.
Psychological balance theories: Posit that psychological inconsistency disturbs people, to the extent that they will often go to great lengths to reduce or remove it.
Public relations campaigns: Campaigns that address issues with a view toward heading off problems, managing crises, sometimes going on the offensive, but in all cases attempting to make their clients look good.
Push polls: Push polls are highly unethical “fake polls.” They are surveys that inject damaging information about the opponent while giving the appearance of merely eliciting opinions about the candidates for research purposes.
Reciprocity: Cialdini’s principle of influence and persuasion suggesting that we have an inclination to repay in kind what others have done for us.
Recovered memory: The recollection of a memory that is perceived to have been unavailable for some period of time. A memory that has been restored from the unconscious to the conscious mind, especially one of a traumatic childhood event. Issues have arisen around therapists implanting false memories in vulnerable patients, which might be labeled a form of indoctrination.
Reflexive metacommunication: Communication about communication that interprets, classifies, or in other ways comments on one’s own messages.
Reformist social movement: A movement that seeks to fix or improve the system through the passage of particular laws, better enforcement of particular laws, replacement of corrupt or incompetent officials, etc.
Reification: Reification involves socially-created constructs coming to be treated as mundane realities that are no longer questioned or seen as open to change.
Repetition, association, and composition: Rank’s categories through which persuaders intensify their messages.
Representativeness biases: Involve the rules-of-thumb on which we form and act upon our stereotypes.
Representativeness errors: Errors that assume that new cases are likely to fit a known pattern. When in the grip of representativeness errors, we are thereby unprepared for or unable to recognize the atypical case.
Resistance social movement: A movement that seeks to hold back and keep the status quo.
Resources of ambiguity: Kenneth Burke’s phrase, which suggests that there are multiple ways to label something; categorize it; define it; illustrate it; or compare, contrast, or contextualize it.
Response changing: Involves a wholesale shift of positions, more often in fits and starts than by way of a sudden, dramatic conversion.
Response reinforcing: Consists of strengthening currently held convictions and making them more resistant to change.
Response shaping: Occurs when people acquire new beliefs on controversial matters or when they are socialized to learn new attitudes or acquire new values.
Responsive metacommunication: Communication about communication that is the frame-altering reply to what others have said in interactive situations.
Restorative social movement: A movement that seeks to create a return to an older and supposedly better way of life.
Revolutionary social movement: A movement that seeks to replace guiding ideologies, institutions, and sometimes entire regimes, on the basis of new governing principles.
Rhetorical criticism: A method for studying persuasive discourse which attempts to make sense of the rhetorical act or event, either as an object of interest in its own right or because it helps illuminate some larger issue, problem, or theoretical question.
RPS approach: Simons’s framework for leading social movements or for analyzing their moves and speech as a rhetorical critic. Its basic assumptions are these: (a) Any movement must fulfill the same functional requirements as more institutionalized collectivities. These imperatives constitute rhetorical requirements for the leadership of a movement. (b) Conflicts among requirements create rhetorical problems, which in turn affect (c) decisions on rhetorical strategy. The primary test of leaders, and ultimately of the strategies they employ, is their capacity to fulfill the requirements of their movement by removing or reducing rhetorical problems.
RPS model: A form of rhetorical criticism that focuses of requirements, problems, and strategies as categories through which to analyze an artifact.
Sage on the stage: An objectivist approach wherein the persuader is operating from what he or she perceives as greater knowledge or wisdom on the matter, one often associated with academic lectures.
Scarcity: Cialdini’s principle of influence and persuasion suggesting that opportunities seem more valuable to us when they are less available.
Self parody ad: A type of anti-ad where the object of attention is the supposed spokesperson for the company who distorts the traditional role for comic effect. An example is William Shatner’s role as “spokesman” for Priceline.  
Self-referential ad: A type of anti-ad that involves absorbing the mass media’s increasingly prevalent criticism of advertising by incorporating the criticisms into the ads themselves. The ads seems to twist back upon themselves like a mobius strip; as we view them, we understand that advertising agencies have created them to offer critiques of the exact practices they are engaged in at that very moment of ad creation. One of the most interesting examples of this type is Direct TV’s “Youthenize” ad.
Sinatra test, the: A measure of credibility, where an individual has one example that is enough to establish credibility in a given domain. For example, if you have catered a White House function, you can cater anywhere. The name is based humorously on Frank Sinatra’s hit song New York, New York, where he sings: “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.”
Situationalism: An ethical perspective that regards questions of ethics as role- or situation-specific.
Social conflict: A clash over at least partially incompatible interests. A social conflict presupposes something more than a disagreement, difference of opinion, or academic controversy. This point is important because people tend to minimize or wish away conflicts.
Social constructionism: A perspective that argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from their experiences, and highlights the ways in which much of what is taken for granted as “fact” or “true” has been created through language.
Social judgment-involvement theory: Argues that attitudes toward any issue can be arranged along a continuum from very unfavorable to very favorable, and that high levels of ego involvement shrink the latitudes of acceptance and neutrality and widen the latitude of rejection.
Social movement: An uninstitutionalized collectivity that operates on a sustained basis to exert external influence in behalf of a cause.
Social proof: Cialdini’s principle of influence and persuasion suggesting that we determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct.
Social-scientific approach to persuasion: A behavioral approach that subjects theories and hypotheses to rigorous empirical tests with the goal of yielding reliable generalizations which can be used with profit by would-be persuaders.
Sociographics: This is used to determine how, why, and where people cluster together, as in neighborhoods, malls, on-line social networking sites, and entertainment centers.
Sophists: Teachers of persuasion in ancient Greece who were strongly criticized by Plato.
Speech act or illocutionary act: John Austin argued that through “speech acts” or "illocutionary acts" we can perform an action: "By saying something, we do something," as when a judge or member of the clergy joins two people in marriage by saying, “I now pronounce you husband and wife."
Springboard story: A particularly effective type of story where a narrative tells people about the possibilities before them.
Status quo biases: The default options for thinking, requiring the least effort and the least attention.
Stock issues: Recurring questions that persuaders are logically obligated to consider if they wish to advance a proposition of policy. Stock issues include: need, workability, practicality, freedom from greater evils, and superiority relative to other possible solutions.
Straight ticket: A form of voting where individuals vote solely for all the candidates of a political party. Estimates are that about 50% of voters vote “straight ticket.” Those who do not are called “ticket splitters” or “swing voters.”
Strict father frame: George Lakoff argues that Americans metaphorically conceive of politics and policy through the framework of the “family,” with two frames competing for attention: the strict father frame and the nurturant parent frame. The strict father frame emphasizes discipline and self-sufficiency.
Subjective norms: The things we believe people whom we value highly would have us do.
Subliminal persuasion: Supposed messages that pass beneath the “limen” (the sensory threshold), and are therefore not recognizable to the conscious mind. It’s part of folk culture to believe that people can learn subliminally, but also that they can be manipulated subliminally—convinced to do what they might otherwise choose not to do.
Super Tuesday: A day set aside where multiple states hold their primaries, playing an important role in determining who will become the presidential nominee for each major party.
Surfacing: The period when candidates announce their intentions to run and enter the race.
Symmetrical conflict: A conflict between persons or groups with relatively equal power to reward or punish the other.
Syncographics: Market researchers actively attempt to discern what is the most likely time for individuals to buy something. Called syncographics, this investigative tool presupposes that when consumers are anticipating an event—from a marriage or baby to a vacation or graduation—they must buy certain things.
Terministic screens: Kenneth Burke’s terminology to describe a set of symbols that becomes a kind of screen or grid of intelligibility through which the world makes sense to us. Language, Burke thought, doesn't simply “reflect” reality; it also helps select reality as well as deflect reality.
Thematic news frame: Takes the form of placing public issues in some more general or abstract context,” presenting collective and general evidence (Iyengar, 1991).
Theory of reasoned action: Posits that the best predictor of behavior is intentions, which are a joint product of attitudes toward behaviors (AB) and subjective norms (SN).
Topoi: Lines of argument that can be used in establishing a possibility.  
Totemism phase of advertising (1970–1990): During this period, advertisers began to make products representative of a lifestyle. Product-related images became symbols of social groups, as new computer technologies helped advertisers locate and identify the needs and desires of particular groups of consumers. Product images became totems, or badges of group membership, and ads invited consumers into a “consumption community” by emphasizing the community’s attractiveness (rather than the product’s desirability). Consumers were induced to adopt the sociocultural identity associated with those who use the product and encouraged to communicate what types of people they are through their consumption patterns.
Truthiness: According to Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," October 2005, "truth that comes from the gut, not books."
Two systems theories: Posit that, when it comes to persuasion, there are two components operating. One part of our decision making comes from automatic, unreflective decision making; the other from our more rational and reflective self.
Typification: The attribution of characteristics to people, places, or things in such a way as to benefit the argument of the persuader. Typification can involve putting words in someone’s mouth, playing down certain facts while highlighting others, and categorizing the subject under discussion as a “type.”
Utilitarianism: An ethical perspective that assumes what is best is that which will provide the most good for the greatest number of people.
Universalism: An ethical perspective that assumes some practices are intrinsically virtuous & others are objectionable, no matter the situation.
VALS™: The values, attitudes, and lifestyles survey, a psychographic measurement technique developed in the totemic period that has gained acceptance among advertisers.
Values: Our ideals, determining what we see as right or wrong. They contain our judgments about the worth of things, and they provide the principles that guide us in how to conduct our lives.
Vocalics: Non-verbal communication involvingthe auditory channel, including rate, volume, pitch, voice quality, and articulation.
Willie Horton: Willie Horton was a convicted felon on weekend furlough who committed an assault, armed robbery, and rape. In 1988, Horton was the subject of an attack ad aimed at presidential candidate Michael Dukakis. The ad was condemned as racist, but it was effective, helping to change the tenor of the campaign that year. To speak of the Willie Horton ad today is to refer to the most hard-hitting sort of negative ad, one that is unfair and unethical.
Win-lose conflict: Winning at the expense of others.
Winnowing: The period when the candidates seek the nomination of their party.
Win-win conflict: Winning with others.
Yes-but technique: Using the yes-but approach, persuaders begin by noting those arguments of the message recipient with which they can agree, and then, having shown how fair-minded they are, they offer a series of “buts” that constitute the heart of their case.
Yes-yes technique: Using the yes-yes approach, the persuader lays the groundwork for the case by identifying a number of acceptable principles or criteria by which the case will later be supported.

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