The Power of Self-Persuasion

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In contrast with traditional, direct techniques of persuasion (advertising, political rhetoric, etc.), self-persuasion is indirect and entails placing people in situations where they are motivated to persuade themselves to change their own attitudes or behavior. We find that where important attitudes, behavior, or lifestyle changes are concerned, self-persuasion strategies produce more powerful and more long-lasting effects than do direct techniques of persuasion. This is primarily due to the fact that in direct persuasion, members of an audience are constantly aware of the fact that someone is trying (or has tried) to influence them. In a self-persuasion situation, people are convinced that the motivation for change comes from within. In the present address, the author reviews a range of his research on self-persuasion and underscores its relevance to current societal problems.

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