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Roots, Shoots, and Fruits of Persuasion in Military Affairs


Robert B. Cialdini, Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287 [e-mail:].


Because of the relatively recent application of scientific methods to the study of persuasion effects—and the consequent replicability of those effects—the relationship between governments and students of persuasion has changed radically. As is clear from Sara King's (2010) article, the U.S. government seeks a beneficial relationship. Not so clear is the proper role of the persuasion scientist in that relationship. I advocate one such role, that of audience-empowering educator. Therein, the goal is not to use persuasion to strengthen the desired message artificially but to convince desired audiences to be open to processing the message fully.