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The course presents the major theories of persuasion and teaches students how to apply them in interpersonal communication, business, and civic arenas.  Key topic areas include the psychology of persuasion, source credibility, audience adaptation, persuasive analysis, persuasive speech, motivational appeals, social campaigns, and manipulation.



  • Explaining major persuasive psychological theories.
  • Identifying persuasive verbal and nonverbal behaviors in public speaking, interpersonal relationships, and business settings.
  • Describing how persuasion is used in the political process.
  • Defining and identifying fallacious arguments in the media.
  • Using critical thinking to write a persuasive speech which includes arguments that support a controversial position that is relevant to organizations and business.
  • Creating and identifying logos, ethos, and pathos arguments by applying Aristotle’s Theory.
  • Discussing the elements source credibility.
  • Determining how emotions can be used to impact the message.
  • Using logic to support a position on a controversial topic.
  • Exploring methods of audience analysis and adaptation.
  • Using critical thinking skills to apply the stages of a campaign to a social movement.
  • Using analytical and critical thinking skills to analyze the persuasive messages in a campaign.
  • Using critical thinking skills and technical skills to locate and analyze persuasion in speeches and published material.
  • Discovering how demographics are used to target specific audiences in persuasive settings.
  • Describing and discussing the process of manipulation—unethical persuasion.
  • Identifying the characteristics of manipulators.
  • Using technological skills to research persuasive material.

Course Syllabi

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