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This course that you are about to delve into is a scientific study of influence and persuasion. What is influence? Some scholars define it as "the changes in people caused by what others do" (Zimbardo & Leippe, 1991). It involves behavior by one person that has the effect—or even just the intention—of changing the way another person behaves, feels, remembers, or thinks about an issue, object, or action.How is persuasion different? It can be difficult to make a clear distinction. Persuasion is sometimes referred to as a form of communication whereby one individual attempts to influence many individuals in the audience, like when a politician gives a speech to employees at an manufacturing plant. This implies that while influence occurs when one individual attempts to change another, persuasion occurs when one person attempts to change many.These definitions, however, do not seem to capture all of the types of mechanisms for change that you will learn about in this course. Another way to distinguish influence from persuasion is to suggest that influence represents any intentional or unintentional action taken by social entity to change another social entity. Intentional acts of influence are easy to imagine, but as we will see later in this class, this definition of influence includes unintentional acts of influence like conformity. You can have many people influencing many other people at the same time without trying, and it is still influence.Persuasion may be considered a specific form of influence. It often involves actions that are intended to change the way other people behave, feel, remember, or think about an issue, object, or action. That could apply to many people in an audience, for example, when a political candidate debates his or her opponent on national television, or one individual listens to a car salesperson extolling the virtues of the most recent model on the lot.It is important to understand the psychological processes that cause influence and persuasion because:• They are everyday experiences• They can be beneficial (informative and helpful)• They can be harmful (exploitative and manipulative)To prepare for this Discussion:• Review Chapter 1 in the course text, Persuasion: Psychological Insights and Perspectives in order to gain an overall perspective on the domains to be covered in this course.• Review the course document, "Brief Historical Development of Influence and Persuasion," paying particular attention to the history discussed.• Review Table 3.2, "Continuum of Influence and Persuasion," on the F.A.C.T.net Web site. (Note: Scroll down the page in order to view the table.) It describes the nature of influence in education, advertising, propaganda, indoctrination, and thought reform. These forms of influence differ in various ways. Carefully read and consider their differences with regard to structure of persuasion, tolerance, and methods.• Use Google to search for any terms that are unfamiliar to you.• Reflect on two or more experiences where you were influenced by a type of influencerepresented in the table. Consider how they fit or do not fit the structure of persuasion, tolerance, and methods described in the table. Select one of these experiences to use for this Discussion.• Think about explanations for such phenomena that might conflict with your current views, including explanations suggested by this week's required readings.With these thoughts in mind:
 a description of a time when you were influenced by one of the types of influence from the table (e.g., education, advertising, propaganda, indoctrination, thought reform) that does not seem to fit the structure of persuasion, tolerance, or methods. Identify the aspect(s) of your experience that do not fit and clearly explain why they do not match the characteristics of the influence in the table above. Finally, identify any phenomena that you found that conflicted with your current views and explain how/why.Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

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Introduction to Psychology

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