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International Journal of Social Inquiry

Yıl 2010 , Cilt 3 , Sayı 1

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Başlık :

The roots of research in (political) persuasion: ethos, pathos, logos and the yale studies of persuasive communications

Yazar kurumları :
İstanbul Kültür University1
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Özet Türkçe :

In ancient Greece, Aristotle claimed in his Rhetoric that the function of rhetoric was not to persuade, but to discover the means of persuasion in each case. It is remarkable how the empirical approach towards persuasion embedded in ‘ethos, pathos, logos’ of Aristotle seems to be revisited by the Yale study group in 1950s, with the aim of discovering the laws of persuasive communications in laboratory settings. The contemporary quest carried out by the Yale research program on persuasion reflects the Aristotelean tradition of examining ‘the ethos, pathos and logos’ aspects of persuasion closely. This article aims to draw the reader’s attention to this strong influence of Aristotle’s perspective on the Yale research group. Adopting a learning theory approach, the Yale study group, led by psychologist Carl Hovland, tried to find out the stimulus-response effects of many variables concerning persuasion and thus paved the way for more elaborate research in persuasion in the years to come. The characteristics of the elements of persuasion, which have been studied by the Yale research group, are explained in this article by giving examples from their experimental research. The major contribution of Hovland and his colleagues has been the specification of an initial set of characteristics to understand the principles and processes of persuasion. Since persuasion is an important dimension of politics in general and negotiation/conflict resolution in particular, the tradition of studying (political) rhetoric deserves the attention of disciplines like political science and international relations as well.

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