ERIC Number: EJ1023069
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: N/A
Persuasion on Trial: An Exercise for Understanding the Benefits of Studying Persuasion
Seiter, John S.; Gass, Robert H.
Communication Teacher, v27 n3 p127-131 2013
The study of persuasion is the wellspring of the communication discipline. Nevertheless, in one review, Seiter and Gass (2004) noted that ''critics of persuasion seem to emerge and reemerge with some regularity'' (p. 2). Although the study of persuasion is generally venerated by those within the field of communication, it is not always viewed so favorably by laypersons, including students who enroll in introductory persuasion courses. Ordinary people often perceive persuasion negatively. As Robert Levine (2003) explained, ''To be known as a persuasion expert in today's world is to arouse suspicion. It's a label that reeks of manipulation and exploitation'' (p. 241). Scholars and academicians understand the value of learning about persuasion; students often do not. They often describe persuasion in pejorative terms. Given such criticisms, connotations, and concerns, the authors present the activity described here, which can be completed in one class period (less than one hour). In it, the instructor plays the role of defense attorney, and the students play the roles of witnesses and jurors in a mock trial where persuasion ''stands accused.'' This exercise affords the instructor an opportunity to address negative stereotypes about persuasion, without lecturing students on what to think about the subject. A list of references and suggested readings is included.
Descriptors: Persuasive Discourse, Class Activities, Role Playing, Communication (Thought Transfer), Ethics, Student Attitudes, Negative Attitudes, College Instruction, College Students
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Journal Articles
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A