Writing a college persuasive essay

Persuasion is a method of influencing people’s minds, facing their own critical perceptions.

Using the method of persuasion, psychologists proceed from the fact that it is oriented towards the intellectual-cognitive sphere of the human psyche. Its essence is to use logical arguments to first obtain from a person internal agreement with certain inferences, and then on this basis to form and consolidate new installations (or transform old ones), corresponding to the set goal.

When writing a college persuasive essay, it is necessary to follow certain rules:
  • The logic of persuasion must be accessible to the intellect of the object of influence
  • You must persuade convincingly using facts known to the object
  • In addition to concrete facts and examples (without them one cannot convince those who lack the breadth of horizons, developed abstract thinking), information should contain generalized provisions (ideas, principles)
  • Convincing information should look as plausible as possible
  • The reported facts and general provisions should be such as to evoke an emotional response of the object of influence.

A criterion for the effectiveness of persuasive impact is conviction. This is a deep confidence in the truth of the acquired ideas, concepts, terms, and images. It allows making unequivocal decisions and implement them without hesitation, taking a firm position in assessing certain facts and phenomena.

Due to conviction, people’s attitudes are formed that determine their behavior in specific situations.

An important characteristic of conviction is its depth. It is directly connected with the previous upbringing of people, their awareness, life experience, and the ability to analyze the phenomena of the surrounding reality.

Deep confidence is characterized by great stability. As practice shows, in order to shake it, only logical conclusions alone are not enough. Convincing impact is advisable to implement in the following cases:
  • When an object is able to perceive the information received.
  • If the object is psychologically able to agree with the opinion imposed on it. Therefore, the correct choice of the object of psychological influence and the content of persuasive impact are equally important.
  • If the object is able to compare different points of view, analyze the system of argumentation. In other words, persuasive impact is effective only if its object is able to understand and appreciate what is being presented to him/her.
  • If the logic of thinking of the subject of influence, the argument used by him is close to the peculiarities of the thinking of the object. Hence the importance of taking into account the national psychological features of the object, the whole complex of social, national-religious, cultural factors that influence the perception of the content of the message.
  • If there is time to persuade. In order to convince people in something, especially that it is beneficial to the opposite side, it usually takes time. Changes in the sphere of rational thinking of people occur only after comparison and deliberation of facts, which involves significant time costs. In addition, the diverse content of persuasive impact requires repeated confirmation by various arguments and facts, which also stretches the process.

Structure of persuasive impact

Persuasive impact usually includes:
  • The impact of the source of information
  • The impact of the content of information
  • The impact of the information situation

The impact of the source of information

The effectiveness of a belief depends to a certain extent on how people who perceive it relate to the source of information.

The impact of the content of information

First, the impact of the content of information largely depends on how much it is conclusive and convincing.

Proof is based on the consistency, plausibility, and consistency of the material presented. In other words, it is important not only what is reported, but also how it is done. Evidence does not automatically include persuasiveness.

Specialists proceed from the fact that:
  • The content of information materials should be well thought out and conform to the laws of formal logic
  • The concrete in the content of the information message seems more convincing than the abstract one
  • The more dynamic the text, the brighter and more diverse the facts contained in it, the more it attracts attention
  • What is close to the interests and needs of the object of influence is better perceived
  • What is presented by small semantic parts (blocks) is better to understand
  • What causes an emotional response in the object of impact is better absorbed
  • The material that is presented in accordance with the national traditions of perception of the object is better perceived, comprehended, and assimilated

Persuasion cannot be reduced to a simple exposition of that information, in the truth of which they try to convince the enemy, and to the subsequent bringing of arguments to its confirmation, as required by the rules of formal logic. There are many more ways to convince people.

Categories of arguments for persuasion

There are three main categories of arguments for persuasion:
  • True facts. The incontrovertible information in the message text sets people to evaluate the entire text (including its recommendations) as correct.
  • Arguments that give psychological satisfaction, as they appeal to positive expectations.
  • Arguments appealing to negative expectations.

Types of arguments by the way of the presentation of information

The method of presenting the arguments can be one-sided and two-sided:
  • One-sided message is a text that contains arguments only from the source of information. Such messages are more effective when the object of psychological influence does not experience hostile feelings towards the source of information and in addition is distinguished by a low level of education. The object in this case can relatively easy accept the point of view of the source of information. One-sided message can also be used to persuade people who have different levels of education.
  • Two-sided message contains both the arguments of the information source and the counterarguments of the enemy, which are to be exposed. This construction of the text serves as an incentive to the active intellectual activity of the object, as a result of which there is a review of the judgments that have developed before it. Two-sided message is focused mainly on people with a high level of education, who need to compare different views, points of view, opinions, and assessments. Such method preempts the argumentation of the enemy and creates the precondition for the development of a certain immunity against it.

The order of the arguments in a college persuasive essay is also important. In particular, it is advisable to have information directly oriented to changing the installation (strong arguments) over any other, not related to the solution of this problem. In most cases, the most effective position is the location of strong arguments in the middle of the message text (the so-called pyramidal model of the impact).

The effectiveness of texts with strong arguments, located at the beginning and end of the message, depends on the settings of the object of psychological impact. If he shows considerable interest in the subject of the message (that is, he has positive opinions on this question), then the text in which strong arguments are contained at the end of the message (the so-called culmination model of the impact) is more effective.

If the object is not relevant to the subject of the message, then it is better to place strong arguments at the beginning of the text in order to immediately attract the necessary attention.

The impact of a convincing message on an adversary depends to a large extent on which appeals (slogans) are selected and how they are submitted. There are the following kinds of appeals:
  • Direct appeals – they assume a belief based on the presentation of strong direct arguments.
  • Indirect appeals – represent a belief through hints and promises.
  • Uncertain appeals – they induce the object to come to conclusions on its own, resulting logically from the arguments presented to it, although there are no specific proposals in the text of the message.

Exercising persuasive impact

To obtain the maximum effect in the essay, the persuasive impact must meet certain requirements:
  • Be properly oriented and planned.
  • Be directed at a specific object.
  • Be oriented primarily toward the intellectual-cognitive sphere of the psyche of the object.
  • Be directed at initiating a certain behavior.
The main principles of implementation of persuasive impact should be:
  • The principle of repetition. Multiple repetition of the message gives an effect that cannot be obtained with a single exposure.
  • Principle of achieving the primacy of exposure. If the object received some important message, then in his mind, there is a readiness to perceive the subsequent, more detailed information, confirming the first impression.
  • Principle of ensuring trust in the source of information.
  • Principle of activation of mental processes of perception by the object of the content of information.

Methods of influence persuasion

Persuasion implies a soft impact on a person, whose goal is to radically adjust his views to influence subsequent behavior. This option is the most ethical way of influence because there is no gross violence or introduction into the subconscious of the object.

Persuasion method is used for:
  • Long-term change in the views and attitudes of the person in the required direction.
  • Involvement in cooperation.
  • Prompting the object to the desired action.

As for the technical execution, persuasion is a clear, sometimes hidden discussion, supplemented by some stimulating effect.

Everyone has his own attitude towards something or someone. There are three gradations of this attitude:
  • Obvious sympathy (propensity to accept something)
  • Indifference (with a slight shift in one direction or another)
  • Denial (rejection)

Any attempt to impose the desired opinion roughly will only lead to a negative result for man always opposes the restriction of freedom of choice.

To change the attitude of an individual to something, it is necessary to reorient his attitude. It should be borne in mind that:
  • In the duel of reason and installation, the installation wins more often.
  • In the course of changing attitudes, one needs to show the direction and content of the necessary changes; all this must be perceived and understood by him.
  • The changes will be more successful the more consonant they are to the needs and motivations of the object.
  • The easiest way is to rebuild facilities that do not have a fundamental (vital) significance for a person.
  • In the case of a completely negative attitude, its reorientation usually requires special complicated methods of reprogramming the psyche of the person.
Depending on the conditions of the situation and the specific features of the facility, you can try to convince someone directly (during the conversation) or indirectly (through inspired actions), while acting in the following way:
  • Accented and logical
  • Imperatively (categorically)
  • Excitatively (by emotion rastravlivaniem)
  • Alternatively (reducing the problem to the choice of or-or)

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