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Master Persuasion Psychology

Unlock the Secrets of Persuasion Psychology Science and Learn How to Influence People's Opinions and Decisions
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Last updated 7/2016
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 7 Articles
  • 2 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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It can be difficult to persuade people to adopt the opinion you'd like them to have. Maybe you're a marketer trying to convince people that your product is right for them. Maybe you're an activist trying to convince people to conserve water. Whatever your persuasion goals might be, this course will show you how to be smart about influencing other people's opinions.

Using Persuasion Science to its Full Potential

Everything in this course is rooted in tested persuasion strategies. I'm not just making things up like a lot of persuasion "gurus." You'll learn practical tips taken from rigorous research in psychological science, and you'll discover when those strategies will be most effective.

A few of the things we'll cover:

  • How to get people to pay attention to what you have to say.
  • How to construct captivating persuasive arguments.
  • How to employ simple tricks to make your message more convincing.
  • How to decide between emotional and rational appeals.
  • How to tailor your message to the needs of a particular audience.
  • ...and way more!

Course Overview

Persuasion is one of the most studied topics in social psychology, and its insights have extended to business, political science, communications, and personal development. In this course, you'll understand one of the most prominent and well-tested models of persuasion. Once you have a grasp on that, you'll start to see how all of the elements of a persuasive message come together.

By the end of this course, you'll be able to make smart decisions about how you deliver your message, who delivers it, how to tailor it to a particular audience, and more. Best of all, this course will always be there for you, and you can review the material anytime it's time to craft a compelling message that will captivate and influence your audience.

These tools and techniques also apply no matter what your unique message is. Once you understand the core principles of persuasive influence, you'll become a persuasion master, ready to influence people's opinions about anything, whether your message is presented in writing, in person, or through audio-visual media.

And You Can Trust Your Teacher!

I'm a trained social psychologist. Not only do I have more than 13,000 students on Udemy, but I also teach classes in social psychology at the university level. Moreover, I conduct my own psychological research in persuasion science, so I know a thing or two about the thousands of studies that exist in this field and what the latest experiments reveal.

Don't miss out on the chance to dive straight into the secrets of persuasion that have until now remained locked in dense academic journals. So enroll now--you'll be glad you did.

Who is the target audience?
  • If you have the goal to influence people’s opinions, then this course is for you. This includes salespeople, marketers, politicians, leaders, teachers, and more.
  • This is not a course about mind control or subliminal influence. Be willing to thoughtfully analyze your approach to persuasion.
  • If you are a student of psychology, you will also gain a ton from this comprehensive review of proven psychological patterns.
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What Will I Learn?
Put together a compelling message that will effectively persuade an audience.
Understand when some techniques are persuasive and when they are not.
Know how to map out your message so that it is persuasive under the right circumstances and for the right audiences.
Know how to diagnose problems in your own persuasive messages.
View Curriculum
  • No prior knowledge of psychological science is necessary.
  • You should have some idea of what your ultimate persuasive goals are.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 55 Lectures Collapse All 55 Lectures 03:20:52
Introduction to Persuasion Science
3 Lectures 09:19

Welcome to the course on persuasion science. This video is just a quick way of saying hello.

Preview 03:26

Before we dive into what we've learned from research in persuasion science, let's quickly cover what persuasion science is. In this quick video, I'll give you the essentials of how people conduct psychological persuasion research and why the results of these studies give us reliable answers.

How Persuasion Research Works

A Quick Word About Reviews
Introducing a General Model of Persuasion
6 Lectures 29:17

Introducing the general persuasion framework that we'll rely on for the rest of this course.

Preview 01:04

An understanding of the "attitude" concept is critical for understanding persuasion. We'll see how anything that people have "positive" or "negative" opinions about is something that can be influenced by strategic persuasion.

Understanding "Attitudes" and "Attitude Change"

Modern theories of persuasion owe a lot to the early persuasion science research. The questions raised by these pioneers and their research findings inspired a lot of what we know today.

A Short History of Persuasion Science

This is one of the most important videos in this course. We'll discuss the two general types of persuasive influences. More importantly, we'll learn when one class of influences is effective and when the other class of influences is effective. This is the key to being smart about your persuasive strategy!

Two Types of Variables

One implication of the two routes to persuasion is attitude strength, and if you are at all interested in creating lasting change, you'll want to pay attention.

Attitude Strength

In this video, I present our grand model of persuasion in a simple graphical format. You'll see how all of the pieces fit together, and you can use this model as you think about your own persuasive approach.

The Model All Together

Before we get moving, make sure you understand the basics of persuasion.

[Exercise: Quiz] Persuasion Model Basics
2 questions
When Will People Think About Your Message?
7 Lectures 20:15

In this section of the course, we're going to take a first look at the key determinants of message-related thinking. How do you know if someone is likely to pay attention to your persuasive content or not?

Preview 00:42

There are two general determinants of whether people are going to think about your persuasive content: motivation and ability to think. We'll revisit these ideas throughout the course.

"Motivation" and "Ability"

In one illustrative example, we'll see how personal relevance is a major factor in whether someone feels motivated to consider your message. When your topic is relevant to the audience's lives, they will be much more inclined to carefully consider what you have to say, focusing on the strength of your argumentation as the basis for persuasion.

Preview 05:00

In this lecture, we discuss an example of "ability" and when people are especially unlikely to carefully consider what you have to say.

An Example of "Ability"

A final class of influences on whether people think about your message is a personality trait--the "need for cognition." In this video, we'll see what this trait is and how to spot someone who's likely to scrutinize your persuasive arguments.

Personality and Thinking ("Need for Cognition")

Take the Need for Cognition scale and discover where you fall! This activity will also help you see how this personality trait is measured.

[Activity] Are you high or low in Need for Cognition?
1 page

Let's wrap up the first part of this course by reviewing what we've learned so far. It's important to understand the general persuasion model and the determinants of thinking before getting to specific persuasion strategies.

[Exercise] Review of Motivation, Ability, and When People Think
The Qualities of a Persuasive Persuader
6 Lectures 21:42

Making sure your message is delivered by the right person is one of the key decisions in a persuasive strategy.

The Persuasive Persuader

There are a few different ways to boost highlight your credibility--emphasize your expertise and your trustworthiness.


Plenty of research in persuasion science has shown the importance of likability in facilitating persuasion. As we'll see, simple influences like "similarity" and "physical attractiveness" can have critical impact.


Especially when people aren't motivated to think through an issue, conveying confidence in your claims can be persuasive all on its own.


In this fun exercise, you'll get some practice thinking through the specifics of ensuring the source of your message is persuasive.

[Exercise] The Qualities of a Persuasive Persuader

In this brief lecture, we'll bring everything back together.

The Source: Summary
Message Factors
5 Lectures 17:49

The content of your message is just one important element of the message itself. In addition to what your message is, how you present the message can also be influential.

Introducing the Message Factors

One simple strategy to quickly increase your persuasive power is to clearly state your overarching message. Under some conditions, though, it might be better to let people draw the conclusion for themselves.

Conclusion Drawing

What's more important in a persuasive message: quality or quantity? It depends! In this lecture, we'll discover the tradeoff between these two considerations.

Number of Arguments / Message Length

You've no doubt seen advertisements that rely on fear. Are they effective? In this lecture, we'll review the research on fear appeals and discover when they're most persuasive.

Fear Appeals

Making your message easy to understand has many benefits. In this lecture we'll see a few benefits that you probably haven't already considered.


In this quiz, your job is to choose which option is likely to be most persuasive when people aren't motivated or able to think about your message, based on what we've learned about "message factors."

[Exercise: Quiz] Message Factors
4 questions
Persuasion Without Messages
3 Lectures 11:21

Although this course focuses on how you can be most persuasive when delivering information to people, in this section, we'll look at just a couple ways people's opinions can be influenced more subtly, even without a message.

Introducing Persuasion Without a Message

One way to influence attitudes without providing any particular information is to simply show people the person or topic a few times! We'll see what this is all about in this lecture.

Mere Exposure

A lot of people have heard of Pavlov and his dogs. The same general idea can apply to shaping people's opinions.


Let's see if you've got the gist of the ideas in this section with a quick quiz.

[Exercise: Quiz] Persuasion Without Messages
1 question
Know Your Audience
8 Lectures 25:05

Tailoring your message to the people who receive it is a simple way to be more persuasive. In this section, we'll discover some specific ways in which tailoring can enhance persuasion.

Introducing "Audience Matching"

Is it better to appeal to people's emotions or to their intellect? It depends on two things: (1) your topic and (2) your audience. We'll talk about a few ways to be smart about this decision.

Emotion vs. Reason

It may sound obvious, but it can be very helpful to think about your audience's personality and make your message appeal to their personality type.

Personality Matching

In an age of globalization, it has become increasingly important to consider people's cultural backgrounds. In this lecture, we'll discuss a key set of cultural values and how to effectively tailor your approach to match the values of your audience.

Culture Matching

Some very new research has shown an interesting case of matching a persuasive message to the recipient's social status. In this lecture, we'll see how the concepts of warmth and competence play into this relationship.

Matching to Social Status

A link to extra content on tailoring messages to the audience.

BONUS: "Regulatory Fit"

Okay, we've spent a lot of time talking about how matching can enhance persuasion, but new research suggests that the more important effect is that matching your message to the audience increases how much people think about your message. We'll consider one example of this in the case of personality matching.

It's About Thinking

In this activity, you'll practice thinking through how to approach persuasion depending on a particular audience.

[Activity] How could you tailor your message?
Persuasion When People Are Thinking
5 Lectures 22:12

We've spent a lot of time talking about persuasive influences that tend to be effective when people aren't thinking carefully about your message. But what about when people are motivated to pay think? How do you design arguments that are persuasive to them?

Introducing Persuasion When People Are Thinking

One important strategy for creating arguments that are convincing is to make sure you highlight desirable outcomes that seem likely.

Desirability and Likelihood

In this exercise, you'll have a chance to practice creating persuasive arguments according to the principles of "desirability" and "likelihood."

[Exercise] Crafting a Persuasive Message Using Desirability & Likelihood

A critical thing that underlies strong arguments is their ability to encourage positive mental responses. In this lecture, we'll discover the difference between positive and negative thoughts and see how they relate to effective persuasion.

Mental Responses

To really ensure that your message will be persuasive to people who give thought to your arguments, it's worth pilot testing those arguments. In this lecture, I'll walk you through the best way to do this.

Test Your Arguments First!
Getting People to Pay Attention
8 Lectures 29:52

Sometimes people are ready to think about your message if only they were motivated and able. If you have a great message, you want people to pay attention. However, if you actually think you're better off convincing people with simple persuasion tricks, you want to prevent people from thinking too deeply about your message. This section will show you how you can get people to think or not, depending on your goals.

Introducing How to Get People to Think

As you've already seen in this course, motivation is critical for getting people to think deeply about a persuasive message. We'll look in detail at two ways to accomplish this: making your message relevant and making the recipient feel responsible for a decision.

Increasing Motivation

The other key element in knowing whether people will think critically about your message or not is their ability to think. In this lecture, we'll consider several strategies for influencing people's ability to think.

Enhancing or Diminishing Ability

As we saw in another section, tailoring a message to your audience is one way to get them to pay attention.

Speak Their Language

One powerful way to influence people's likelihood of thinking closely about your message is to defy expectation. In this lecture we'll see how creating the unexpected can make people especially interested in what you have to say.


Although we usually think of the source of the message as something that can be persuasive when people aren't thinking deeply, it's also possible to use the source as a way to get people paying attention.

Strategically Using Sources

If you make your offer limited, it's not necessarily true that you'll automatically have a more compelling offer. Instead, scarcity can lead people to pay more attention to how strong your core arguments are.

Employ Scarcity

[Exercise] Influencing How Much People Will Think
4 Lectures 03:22

Thanks for joining me in this course! May you be as persuasive as possible!


If you feel compelled to learn more about the science behind all of these persuasion strategies, this document includes all the relevant references.

References to the Scientific Research
10 pages

Bonus Lecture: More from Andrew Luttrell

Bonus Lecture: Get a Free Psychology PDF Ebook
About the Instructor
4.4 Average rating
2,514 Reviews
34,874 Students
14 Courses
Social Psychologist

I am a social psychologist. My expertise is in the domain of attitudes and persuasion, but I have extensive experience with all corners of the social psychology world. The research in this field is so interesting that I can't help but want to share it! I look forward to the chance to share the world of social psychology with you.

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