Assignments by Group 14
(Compiled and posted by Paul Burkhart)
by Paul Burkhart
“She would of been a good woman, if it had been somebody there to shoot her
every minute of her life.”
Those words are spoken at the end of Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard
to Find” by a serial killer who has just shot the woman that he held hostage during the
course of the story.
When the story opens, the woman is selfish, cold, and completely
unfeeling towards everyone around her.
Through the course of the conversation between
the murderer and the woman, she makes several discoveries about herself and ends up
becoming a completely different person whom the reader can actually love and admire.
Just when this happens, the murderer kills the woman.
The reader feels cheated to watch
someone change from bad to good, just to be killed.
But, when the reader speaks the
above words, the reader realizes that this change in the woman was probably only in the
Putting ourselves in the situation, we would become better people too as we
reflect on our lives when we have a gun in our faces.
The process by which a message induces change in beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors
is what we call “persuasion.”
The message faced by the woman was “you have a gun in
your face, you could die.”
This message and the following reflections caused by it
induced a change in the woman’s beliefs, attitudes, and behavior.
Based on a message’s purpose and content we label it either good or bad.
“Propaganda” is what we call the bad, “education” is what we call the good.
human nature, persuasion or attempts thereof are inevitable.
There are two paths that lead to persuasion: the central route and the peripheral
The central route to persuasion occurs when interested people focus on the
arguments and respond with favorable thoughts.
The peripheral route to persuasion
occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker’s attractiveness.
Central route persuasion is more durable and more likely to influence behavior mainly
because it is more thoughtful and less superficial.
There are four main elements to persuasion: the communicator, the message, how
the message is communicated, and the audience.
Many times, a person’s opinion can be
swayed or reinforced not based on the words, but by whom the are spoken – or not
There several factors to this.
First, who says it - credibility pretty much is
the believability of the person.
A credible communicator is perceived as both expert and
If a credible person’s message is persuasive, its impact may fade as its
source is forgotten or dissociated from the message.
The impact of a noncredible person
may correspondingly increase over time, if people remember the message better than the
reason for discounting.
Perceived expertise plays a part as well.
Those that seem more
intelligent usually are more persuasive.
Perceived trustworthiness is another factor.