Persuasive Communication

Third Edition

James B. Stiff and Paul A. Mongeau

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A Paperback Original
August 22, 2016
ISBN 9781462526840
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383 Pages
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August 26, 2016
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Price: $61.00 $45.75
383 Pages
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383 Pages
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Providing an accessible integration of theory and research methods, this text prepares students to critically analyze persuasive appeals and to design effective messages and campaigns. The book draws on key ideas from both communication and social psychology to explore the mutual influence of cognitive and affective processes and the characteristics and production of messages. It gives the reader a solid grasp of foundational issues in persuasion research, the core components of persuasive transactions, and major theoretical models. Instructive concrete examples illustrate applications of the concepts in such settings as health promotion, political campaigns, the courtroom, and advertising.

New to This Edition

“A good choice for a textbook for a persuasion class....This book would be good for graduate students, and especially for graduate students who already have a foundation in quantitative methods.”

Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly (on the second edition)

“Stiff and Mongeau present another masterful synthesis of persuasion research. The chronological framework provides historical context and enables the reader to clearly see the point–counterpoint that defines the development of scientific knowledge. In the third edition, crisp new examples, both classic and contemporary, vivify the writing and illustrate just how consequential persuasion is in the sciences, politics, health, and the law. This is an ideal stand-alone textbook for an undergraduate class that seeks to show what is known about persuasion and how we have come to know it. The succinct coverage of multiple research traditions makes the book equally valuable as base reading for a graduate class.”

—James Price Dillard, PhD, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

“This revised third edition maintains the readability of the second edition while completely updating the research. It is an absolutely wonderful text. The presentation of most material is accomplished by pairing seminal studies—including accessible descriptions of research designs—with state-of-the-art, modern scholarship that indicates the trajectory of knowledge in each area. Like the prior editions, both of which I used in my classes, this is the perfect text for upper-division undergraduate or early graduate students in communication.”

—Mary Lynn Miller Henningsen, PhD, Department of Communication, Northern Illinois University

“The content and organization of this book are ideal, and entirely in line with how I study and teach persuasion. The chapters on attitudes causing behaviors and behaviors causing attitudes are excellent; I know of no other texts that make this distinction, and it is an important one. I very much like the topic boxes in the third edition, which highlight major points like the use of order effects in jury consultation.”

—Thomas Feeley, PhD, Department of Communication, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

“I enjoyed the extensive discussion of the different psychological factors that underlie persuasive communication; mass communication majors will benefit from understanding these processes. The book not only provides a clear discussion of the factors that influence persuasion, but also goes into methodological aspects and does not shy away from current and past controversies in the field. The authors do an excellent job of teasing apart different concepts and explaining how they are related to each other and persuasion in general.”

—Judith E. Rosenbaum, PhD, Mass Communication Program, Albany State University, Georgia

“I strongly recommend this book as a mid-level undergraduate text and general reference. It is very readable, with good examples.”

—Kathryn Greene, PhD, School of Communication and Information, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Table of Contents

I. Fundamental Issues in Persuasion Research

1. Concepts, Definitions, and Basic Distinctions

2. Methods of Investigating Persuasive Communication

3. Examining the Attitude–Behavior Relationship

4. The Effects of Behavior on Attitudes

5. Cognitive Response Models of Persuasion

II. Components of Persuasive Transactions

6. Source Characteristics in Persuasive Communication

7. Persuasive Message Characteristics: Rational Appeals

8. Persuasive Message Characteristics: Emotional Appeals

9. Receiver Characteristics

10. Characteristics of Persuasive Settings sample

III. Persuasion Models

11. Models of Interpersonal Compliance

12. Producing and Resisting Influence Messages

13. Persuasive Communication Campaigns



About the Authors

James B. Stiff, PhD, is Senior Director of Jury Consulting at The Focal Point, a national trial consulting firm. He routinely conducts persuasion research for a variety of civil and criminal matters. Dr. Stiff formerly served on the faculties of Michigan State University, Arizona State University, and the University of Kansas. His scholarly interests include persuasive communication, credibility assessment, and human information processing, and he has authored numerous book chapters and articles in academic journals.

Paul A. Mongeau, PhD, is Associate Director and Professor at the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University. His research focuses on interpersonal communication and social influence; particular areas of interest include cognitive processing of persuasive messages in group and public settings. Dr. Mongeau has served as editor of Communication Studies and the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and is past president of the Western States Communication Association.


Students and instructors in communication, social psychology, and marketing.

Course Use

Serves as a primary or supplemental text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level Communication courses such as Persuasion, Persuasion and Social Influence, Theories of Persuasion, and Health Communication. Serves as a supplemental text in Psychology and Marketing courses such as Social Influence.
Previous editions published by Guilford:

Second Edition, © 2003
ISBN: 9781572307025

First Edition, © 1994
ISBN: 9780898623086
New to this edition: