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A Framework for the Study of Persuasion (WP-21-28)

James Druckman

Persuasion is a vital part of politics – who wins elections and policy disputes often depends on which side can persuade more people. Given this centrality, the study of persuasion has a long history with an enormous number of theories and empirical inquiries. But it is fragmented, with few generalizable findings. Druckman unifies previously disparate dimensions of this topic by presenting a framework focusing on actors (speakers and receivers), treatments (topics, content, media), outcomes (attitudes, behaviors, emotions, identity), and settings (competition, space, time, process, culture). This “Generalizing Persuasion (GP) Framework” organizes distinct findings and offers researchers a structure in which to situate their work. He concludes with a discussion of the normative implications of persuasion.

This paper is published in Annual Review of Political Science.

James Druckman, Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

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