There are four steps to this assignment—you must complete all four in order to receive credit.
Identify a situation in which you will encounter persuasion
Submit topic on Canvas for approval
Expose yourself to the situation and take notes on your experience
Write an analytical reflection paper on the experience.
Identify a situation in which you will encounter persuasion:
This assignment requires you to place yourself in a situation where you will be persuaded to do something (buy, believe, etc.). The assignment requires you to set yourself up as a target of a professional salesperson or other persuasion expert and to analyze their experiences using fundamental persuasion, argumentation, and logic concepts.
Expose yourself to the situation and take notes on your experience:
The assignment requires you to set yourself up as a target of a professional salesperson or other persuasion expert. To simulate a realistic experience I will not explicitly instruct you on how to approach the situation (e.g., emotionally detached, strongly resistant). Rather, I simply ask you to behave as naturally as you can.
Examples of the tactics and concepts (these are from the “handout” reading):
a) the foot-in-the door
b) door-in-the face
c) and that’s-not-all techniques
d) slowly escalating commitments
e) the illusion of choice
f) conformity and social proof
g) conveying illusions of authority, honesty, and likeability
h) the base-rate fallacy and negativity bias.
Sample persuasion experts and situations:
Car, jewelry, stereo, furniture, and insurance salespeople; timeshare seminars; parties to sell Tupperware, kitchenware, photo albums, and candles; military recruiters; funeral arrangement coordinators; street hustlers; scientology, Moonie, and other religious recruiters; and psychics.
It is important to take precautions against placing yourself in unsafe situations. You must have your topic approved by me before carrying out the assignment. Occasionally, it might be necessary to suggest an alternative scenario if a proposed situation is too risky. Most cults, for example, are excellent illustrations of persuasion but I generally advise you not to subject yourself directly to their influence. Also, in situations where you will likely encounter hard-sell salespeople, use your best judgment about what point to exit the encounter. For example, if you are visiting a visiting car lot, do not to go beyond the test drive.
Write an analytical reflection paper on the experience:
Your reflection paper should provide readers with an overview of the entire persuasive experience. Be sure you include the following three ideas:
Analyze the tactics, persuasive concepts, and/or logical fallacies that were employed during your experience.
Reflect on how you responded to the tactics
Articulate how you (or someone you know) could more effectively resist similar persuasion attempts in the future.
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