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Theory and Research

Third Edition
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March 2015 | 408 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Persuasion: Theory and Research, Third Edition is a comprehensive overview of social-scientific theory and research on persuasion. Written in a clear and accessible style that assumes no special technical background in research methods, the Third Edition has been thoroughly revised to reflect developments in persuasion studies. New discussions of subjects such as reactance and the use of narratives as vehicles for persuasion, revised treatments of the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior, and two new chapters on social judgment theory and stage models provide your students with the most current work on persuasion in a clear, straightforward manner. In this edition, author Daniel J. O'Keefe has given special attention to the importance of adapting (tailoring) messages to audiences to maximize persuasiveness. Each chapter has a set of review questions to guide students through the chapter’s material and quickly master the concepts being introduced. 

Chapter 1: Persuasion, Attitudes, and Actions
The Concept of Persuasion  
The Concept of Attitude  
Attitude Measurement Techniques  
Attitudes and Behaviors  
Assessing Persuasive Effects  
Chapter 2: Social Judgment Theory
Judgments of Alternative Positions on an Issue  
Reactions to Communications  
Critical Assessment  
Chapter 3: Functional Approaches to Attitude
A Classic Functional Analysis  
Subsequent Developments  
Chapter 4: Belief-Based Models of Attitude
Summative Model of Attitude  
Research Evidence and Commentary  
Chapter 5: Cognitive Dissonance Theory
General Theoretical Sketch  
Some Research Applications  
Revisions of, And Alternatives to, Dissonance Theory  
Chapter 6: Reasoned Action Theory
The Reasoned Action Theory Model  
Influencing Intentions  
Intentions and Behaviors  
Adapting Persuasive Messages to Recipients Based on Reasoned Action Theory  
Chapter 7: Stage Models
The Transtheoretical Model  
The Distinctive Claims of Stage Models  
Other Stage Models  
Chapter 8: Elaboration Likelihood Model
Variations in the Degree of Elaboration: Central versus Peripheral Routes to Persuasion  
Factors Affecting the Degree of Elaboration  
Influences on Persuasive Effects under Conditions of High Elaboration: Central Routes to Persuasion  
Influences on Persuasive Effects under Conditions of Low Elaboration: Peripheral Routes to Persuasion  
Multiple Roles for Persuasion Variables  
Adapting Persuasive Messages to Recipients Based on the ELM  
Chapter 9: The Study of Persuasive Effects
Experimental Design and Causal Inference  
Two General Challenges in Studying Persuasive Effects  
Chapter 10: Communicator Factors
Communicator Credibility  
Other Communicator Factors  
Chapter 11: Message Factors
Message Structure and Format  
Message Content  
Sequential Request Strategies  
Chapter 12: Receiver Factors
Individual Differences  
Transient Receiver States  
Influencing Susceptibility to Persuasion  
Author Index
Subject Index
About the Author


Instructor Site

Password-protected INSTRUCTOR RESOURCES you’ll actually use! 

Save time and ease class preparation with the additional guidance and tools, including:

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course. 
  • Sample course syllabi provide suggested models for structuring your course structure.
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Chapter-specific discussion questions help launch conversation by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content.
  • Media Links, including carefully selected chapter-by-chapter video and multimedia content which enhance classroom-based explorations of key topics
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter

Relevant topic. Well-written book.

Mr Peter Karlsson
Psychology , Halmstad University
October 30, 2015
Key features


  • Integrates cutting-edge research throughout the text to ensure students have the most current information in the field
  • New coverage of narrative persuasion helps students see how storytelling can be a tool to persuade and motivate
  • New coverage of reactance discusses negative reactions that persuasive messages can evoke—and how to minimize such resistance
  • A new chapter on stage models of behavior change explores the idea that influencing behavior involves a set of distinct progressive steps
  • A new chapter on social judgment theory describes how receivers with the same position can nevertheless react differently to the same persuasive message
  • Special attention is given throughout this edition to the importance of adapting (tailoring) persuasive messaging to enhance effectiveness
  • New review questions have been added throughout each chapter to help students quickly master the concepts being introduced   


  • A compact summary of key research findings in persuasion is written in an accessible style that assumes no special technical background in research methods
  • A comprehensive overview of different theoretical frameworks provides students with a well-rounded understanding and working knowledge and use of a variety of theories
  • Detailed discussions of important theoretical and methodological questions encourage critical thinking and promote further research for a deeper understanding of the material

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