Persuasion Techniques Term Paper

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¶ … persuasion techniques used in the field of advertising. The writer explores the social judgment theory and explores the ways that it is used in a specific advertisement. There were 10 sources used to complete this paper.

The world revolves around the ability to persuade. If one can get another to think the way he thinks, believe what he believes or adopt another opinion then changes can be made. The art of persuasion is one of the most powerful tools available to changing the path of resistance and convincing people to make a particular choice (Boller, 1991). This holds true in many areas of life including of politics, employment, and advertising. There are several theories of persuasion that are commonly used in the field of advertising to persuade consumers to purchase a service or product. The social judgment theory is one that uses five key elements to get people to respond in a desired manner.


Before one can understand how the social judgment theory works for the art of persuasion one should have an understanding of the theory itself and its various elements.

The social judgment theory is a theory that uses five different components to convince others of a particular idea, whether that idea is about advertising, political views, employment issues or other areas of life.

The first element is the fact that everybody uses categories of judgment by which they evaluate persuasive positions (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY (

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The list of possible opinions should include a wide range of positive to negative, which can later be placed in one of three different areas. Those areas would include:

the latitude of acceptance (zone of positions we accept);

the latitude of non-commitment (zone of positions we neither accept nor reject);

the latitude of rejection (zone of positions we reject).

Term Paper on Persuasion Techniques Used in the Field of Assignment

Within the latitude of acceptance is contained all the positions on a particular topic that are found acceptable. For many teachers the first two or three statements in the example are probably acceptable and hence would fall into their latitude of acceptance. Within this latitude there is one special position called the "anchor." This is the single position that a person finds the most acceptable of all. It may be the most extreme position ("absolutely essential"), but the anchor could also be a milder position ("highly probable") (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY ("

There is also a latitude of non-commitment for which things are held in which one has no real opinion about.

This is commonly attributed to statements that are non-committal. For instance of one is discussing whether to raise teacher pay and one of the choices in the list of possible answers is "Not really sure" this would be most teachers' latitude of non-commitment statement.

The second element in the theory is that once one receives the persuasive information one generally puts it in a category of judgment.

More simply put one determines what category each position should be placed n.

This element of the theory has a very direct foundation. If one only provides information that people will place in the "reject" category then one will not be very successful in persuading others to believe what they want them to believe.

In advertising this could be applied to only providing information that one's product is much more expensive than the competition's product, without any additional information about the fine and superior quality of that product, would most likely fail to persuade people to buy that product.

People do not passively take in information, then make judgments. No, instead, people are making these judgments as they receive the information (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY ("

Because of this fact, the first step to persuasion is in the way people judge.

The importance of this is that it is easier to persuade or influence a person that has a larger latitude of acceptance than a larger latitude of rejection because it will be easier to hit the acceptance points with a larger latitude of acceptance (Boyd, 2006).

This is a statistical probability and creates a stage for larger measures of success.

When the person has a larger latitude of rejection this means that there are more things that the person will reject about the topic and there are fewer things that can be said to try and persuade them.

The third element of the social judgment theory involves ego involvement. According to the theory the size of one's ego has a direct impact on the size of the various latitudes.

The issues importance to self-identity plays a significant role in the latitude it is placed in.

Consider this example. A claim is made that, "social security payments must increase to cover the cost of living each year." Now, compare how each of these two different people would rate that claim: A young adult just entering the workforce and someone surviving completely on social security benefits (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY ("

If someone depends solely on social security payments for their entire income there is a high chance that there will only be one acceptable answer to this question, however, for the person that has additional income or is independently wealthy there may be more than one possible answer.

How this all applies to advertising is in understanding the concept and knowing how to identify the range of latitudes when designing the persuasion pitch.

The fourth element of the theory is that people generally distort the information that is received to fit the categories of judgment that one has already established.

A classic example of this is if one is sitting watching television and feels chilly. The same person begins to houseclean and due to that exertion feels warmer. This is due to the judgment changing not the actual temperature changing.

If incoming persuasive information falls within the latitude of acceptance and it is close to the anchor position, then people will "assimilate" the new position. That is, people will pull the new position closer to themselves and make it seem to be even more acceptable than it really is (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY ("

In addition of the incoming persuasive information happens to fall outside of the acceptance latitude the person will automatically move it to the rejection latitude.

In the effort to push that new information in that direction they will convince themselves that it is worse than it really is.

Regardless of what latitude they place it in they will distort the information to fit their comfort zone with their latitude choice.

Now the net of effect of these distortion processes is subtle, but quite important. Through assimilation and contrast they alter the "true" position of the incoming information and make it seem closer or farther away from their anchor than it really is. When distortions like this occur, no persuasion will result (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY ("

The final element of the theory states that people will change their position more readily if there is only a small discrepancy between the anchor positions.

When examined closely persuasion is difficult to accomplish because of the narrow boundaries that it has according to the social judgment theory. If the new information falls within the latitude of rejection it is not allowed, if the person is ego-involved in the issue then the latitude of rejection will be distorted in their minds as much larger than it actually is. In addition people are prone to distorting any newly received information through assimilation and contrast and that process tend to dilute the amount of persuading power it carries.

The Social Judgment Theory believes that three key factors must occur for persuasion to occur. The include:

the new information must fall in the latitude of acceptance.

A the new information must be different from the anchor position.

A the new information, while discrepant from the anchor, can't be assimilated or contrasted (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY ("


When the Social Judgment Theory is applied to the world of advertising it is easy to understand some of the advertising principles and implications.

If a person has a wide latitude of rejection it is important to locate the narrow field that is there for acceptance and gear any advertisement to that area so that the person is inclined to change their mind and go with the persuasive efforts that the advertisement puts forth.

According to this Theory, change cannot occur within the latitude of rejection. When new information is put in this zone, the receiver essentially stops listening to it or, even worse, responds to it in an extremely negative and argumentative way. The last thing an effective persuader wants is a listener who is turned off or angry. Thus, direct attacks are often doomed to failure according to the Theory (SOCIAL JUDGMENT THEORY (" recent study about the Social Judgment Theory examined the individual differences in aesthetic judgments by comparing a quantitative group and individual performance models.

The participants showed marked individual differences throughout the study.

The study involved 19 females and 15 male students from a university in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Persuasion Techniques.  (2006, December 5).  Retrieved September 24, 2020, from

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"Persuasion Techniques."  5 December 2006.  Web.  24 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Persuasion Techniques."  December 5, 2006.  Accessed September 24, 2020.