Persuasion is a form of social influence. It is the process of guiding people toward the adoption of an idea, attitude, or action by rational and symbolic (though not always logical) means. It is strategy of problem-solving relying on "appeals" rather than coercion. According to Aristotle, "Rhetoric is the art of discovering, in a particular case, the available means of persuasion."


According to Robert Cialdini in his book on persuasion, he defined six "weapons of influence":[1]

Propaganda is also closely related to Persuasion. Its a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of large numbers of people. Instead of impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. The most effective propaganda is often completely truthful, but some propaganda presents facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience. The term 'propaganda' first appeared in 1622 when Pope Gregory XV established the Sacred Congregation for Propagating the Faith. Propaganda was then as now about convincing large numbers of people about the veracity of a given set of ideas. Propaganda is as old as people, politics and religion.

List of methods

By appeal to reason:

By appeal to emotion:

Aids to persuasion:

Other techniques:

Coercive techniques, some of which are highly controversial and/or not scientifically proven to be effective:

Systems of persuasion for the purpose of seduction:

See also


  1. ^ Cialdini, R. B. (2001). Influence: Science and practice (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.