Welcome to the Research Guide for COM101, Fundamentals of Public Speaking. Please use this guide to find resources for your speeches this semester. Please contact myself or any BCC Librarian if you have any questions.
According to the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, persuasion can be defined as an active attempt by a person, group, or entity (such as a corporation), usually through some form of communication, to change a person’s mind. Although we use the term mind here, often what we are referring to are attitudes or opinions. Persuasion has been a central focus of the social psychology literature at least since the mid-twentieth century— perhaps because persuasive attempts are so common. Furthermore, if attitudes can be changed, behavior can be changed as well.
Every day we are exposed to hundreds of attempts to change our opinions. Consider how often you come across an advertisement—in a magazine or newspaper, on television, the radio, or a Web site. But marketers are not the only ones trying to influence us. Family members, religious leaders, politicians, and friends all try to convince us to do things, agree with them, or support their cause. Although persuasive attempts are pervasive, they are not always successful.