What is Persuasion Knowledge?

The consumer's main job is understanding and coping with retailers' marketing materials and promotions. Consumers gradually get a firsthand understanding of the strategies employed in these persuasive attempts. Thanks to this knowledge, they can recognize how, when, and why advertisers try to persuade them. Additionally, it enables people to respond to these persuasive tactics in a way that advances their objectives.

It is implausible to suppose that people's persuasion knowledge is inactive or irrelevant during persuasion episodes, even though existing theories of persuasion have overlooked people's persuasion knowledge. Our objective is to propose a model of how folk's persuasion knowledge affects how they react to attempts at persuasion. The Persuasive Knowledge Model is the name for this (PKM).

Persuasion Knowledge

According to the Persuasion Knowledge Model, people's understanding of persuasion depends on their developmental stage. It keeps evolving within people throughout their lives. Moreover, it has several historical dependencies. The folklore on persuasion that is traditionally provided develops through time. Thus each era's and society's thoughts may differ from prior eras and other communities.

People gain knowledge of persuasion in a variety of ways, including firsthand encounters in social communication with peers, family, and workmates; discussions about how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can be influenced; observation of marketers and other well-known persuasion agents; and commentary on media coverage of advertising and marketing strategies.

Because people's understanding of persuasion influences how they react as persuasion targets, as a result of this learning, the consequences of specific activities by persuasion agents (such as advertisements) on people's attitudes and behavior will also alter.

Because of this, specific study results on persuasion impacts will have a "that was; it is now" feel to them. A comprehensive model of persuasion must clarify how people acquire persuasion information, how that knowledge is applied in different kinds of persuasion sequences, and how modifications in that expertise affect what transpires. Consumer research-influenced persuasion frameworks or models do not explicitly mention the role that audience members' persuasion expertise plays. A partial understanding of consumers' capacities has been provided by accounts of persuasion based on attribution theory.

We also found no evidence of researchers studying particular message tactics (such as fear arousal) treating subject discrepancies in understanding the strategy as a tampered or evaluated variable. People's persuasion competence is not one of the viewer characteristics analyzed as moderators of subterfuge effects. Moreover, consumer perceptions of the psychology of marketing have yet to be examined in polls of public views regarding advertising.

Finally, there has yet to be much theoretical study of an individual's persuasion knowledge in volumes of literature on influence in the framework of negotiations and bargaining or political expertise. Consumer researchers appear interested in various study topics where theories about persuasive knowledge may be applicable.

Persuasion Knowledge: Terminological Analysis

Without a clear understanding of the differences and relationships between the terms "accumulated persuasion knowledge" and "situationally activated persuasion knowledge," as well as their components, it is impossible to understand the role of persuasion knowledge activation in consumer response to marketing stimuli.

As of now, situationally activated persuasion knowledge refers to beliefs activated when exposed to a marketing stimulus, while accumulated persuasion knowledge refers to consumer persuasion-related beliefs that the consumer has at a specific point in time, which has been accumulated based on prior marketplace experiences or external information.

Consumers may think about the persuasion nature of the marketing stimulus (How does the marketer persuade me?), the firm's motivations (Why is the marketer trying to persuade me?), and the effectiveness and appropriateness of persuasion attempts (To what extent is a persuasion attempt effective and appropriate?).

The distinction between the components is conditional and makes it easier to comprehend the potential routes in which customers' ideas might go.

Studies have found that consumers are more likely to identify marketing strategies as persuasion attempts the more knowledge and experience they have with persuasion. It is not, though, a universal truth.

For instance, even when consumers are aware that businesses may exaggerate a product's positive attributes in advertising to sway the consumer's opinion, they may fail to spot the persuasion tactic at the time they are exposed to a specific advertisement and believe the information due to the influence of other factors. The researchers use a range of words that are loosely linked to the idea of persuasion knowledge in order to support and expand upon the concepts presented in the PKM.

According to a terminological analysis, researchers employed a variety of phrases to explain how consumers perceived persuasion attempts. There are at least a few explanations for this terminological variance.

Using Various Terminology to describe the same concepts in Various Circumstances

Different research traditions have led to terminology discrepancies, among other things. For instance, long before the PKM, academics in advertising employed the concept of skepticism. Researchers in the field of pricing has historically employed the concept of fairness to explain consumer assessments of the suitability of price-setting processes, price presentations, and established price levels. Conceptually equivalent terms applied in a different setting are the subsequent constructs inferences of manipulative intent and perceived dishonesty.

The Employment of various terminologies to Identify various Features of the Phenomena

Researchers categorized consumer inferences of business motivations in several ways. Research has used binary categories such as private vs. public interests, raising profits vs. offset manufacturing costs, etc. Researchers have also identified various aspects of skepticism, including situational skepticism, which suggests that the consumer may have experienced particular emotions or thoughts at a particular time, and dispositional skepticism, which is connected to the consumer's general worldview.

The application of various Operationalization Techniques

Several operationalization strategies being used are not in and of themselves an issue. The problems occur when measurement scales apply to unrelated concepts concealed by a single phrase. For instance, Bearden's research on persuasion knowledge uses a similar definition but distinct scales to operationalize it. These scales essentially measure the two main categories of persuasion knowledge: subjective ("what consumers think they know") and objective ("what consumers know").

As long as there is a clear understanding of the relationships between these concepts, using different terms to describe similar concepts due to differences in the historical trajectory of scientific fields or the desire to highlight a specific aspect of the phenomenon does not result in complications. Nonetheless, to avoid the theoretical and empirical conflicts brought on by terminological carelessness, scholars have frequently pushed for a more "economical" attitude toward the choice of language.

Content and Structure

People need to be aware of the objectives and methods used by persuasion agents, their potential objectives, and available coping mechanisms to carry out the persuasion-related duties of daily life. Additionally, knowledge of persuasion will include causal-explanatory views about the psychological conditions and mechanisms believed to mediate the impact of one user's persuasion efforts on another person's ultimate behavior. Perceived causal structures, as Kelley described, will mirror a consumer's understanding of persuasion and the persuasion model commonly accepted in a culture. " To him, these were "an interrelated, time-ordered network of causes and effects.

Beliefs about psychological moderators

A key component of persuasion knowledge is people's perceptions of the crucial psychological processes that agents might attempt to affect. According to language analyses, perceptions, beliefs, feelings, desires, intents, and resolutions are six main categories of inner events or processes expressed in everyday English discourse. Early literature on the psychology of marketing and sales also made mention of other psychological processes like attention, interest, belief, desire, memory, confidence, conviction, and judgment. These and various other actions or states known to laypeople, such as attitudes, associations, emotions, images, reasoning, and categorization, have been included in later persuasion process models developed by psychologists, marketing professionals, and marketing experts.

Beliefs about Marketers' Tactics

We assume that people only interpret a propaganda endeavor's observable characteristic (or set of characteristics) as a persuasive trick if they see a potential causal relationship between it and some mental function they assume facilitates persuasion. For instance, if someone thinks that attention, passion, or trustworthiness are mediators, then the presence of a celebrity endorser in an advertisement only makes sense as a perceived persuasion method when that person starts to think that the celebrity's presence might predictably alter those responses.

Beliefs about One's Coping Tactics

As targets, they will form opinions regarding the mental, emotional, or physical maneuvers they can use to control the effects of a persuasive attempt on them. They will first form opinions on how much control they have over the various internal processes they perceive to have. For instance, people may begin to believe that objects portrayed in advertisements substantially influence their emotional reactions more than their thoughts. On the other hand, people might think they are better at controlling their attention, their imaginations, or their justifications for why a product is beneficial.

Beliefs about the Effectiveness and Appropriateness of Marketers' Tactics

Concerning the character of the causal relationships between an agent's acts, the mental impacts those actions have on targets, and the following behavioral results, people will have certain beliefs. For instance, they will have ideas about how easily representatives can generate specific sorts of psychological consequences by using particular behaviors (for example, showcasing babies typically tends to make people emotional) and about how powerfully such effects influence behavioral responses (for example, making people sentimental is not a very heavy influence over whether they purchase the item.

People may have conditioned views, such as "getting people emotional is particularly successful for luxury items," or they may have unconditional ideas about effectiveness, in which case some strategies are considered "powerful." People will also form opinions on the suitability of persuasive strategies (e.g., fairness, manipulativeness). The propriety of an agent's conduct is assessed in light of the subject and the anticipated target demographic (for instance, employing a terror appeal to promote ice cream or in commercials targeted towards children). Such beliefs may also be conditional.

Beliefs about Marketers' persuasion Goals and One's Own Coping Goals

Customers will form opinions about the potential ends that marketers might pursue and about the potential ends, they might pursue in their coping mechanisms. We assume that "efficiency in persuasion coping" is a primary aim that consumers set for themselves. This is commonly understood as the goal of instilling in self, as efficiently as possible, whatsoever psychological or physical actions accomplish one's present educational, attitudinal, or other objectives (regardless of what the agent appears to be trying to do). This is not a goal of unwavering resistance to attempts at influence; instead, it is a goal of self-control and competence.


Gaining a different understanding of various topics about consumer behavior and iterative social procedure may be possible with persuasion knowledge. Since dealing with marketers' attempts to influence consumers is a crucial aspect of being a consumer, the viewpoint it offers and the knowledge it presents should be particularly intriguing to consumer researchers. Among all social interactions, the marketplace is an environment where people are likely to employ persuasion knowledge since the marketer is a well-known persuasion agent.

Updated on: 02-Mar-2023


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