chapter  Chapter Five
15 Pages

Why Do Readers Fail to Change Their Beliefs After Reading Persuasive Text?

WithMarilyn J. Chambliss

Aristotle introduced the study of persuasion with advice to orators. Since, rhetoricians have turned to written persuasion as well. The content characteristics of persuasive text are as important in persuading the reader as the text’s structure. Aristotle proposed a taxonomy of content types for persuasion, which continues to influence the advice given to budding authors learning to design persuasive texts. Persuasive text, such as Pharmaceuticals, is predominately a presentation of evidence that can be characterized by the Toulmin argument model. Presumably, the authors assume that readers will carefully weigh the evidence and that some readers will change their beliefs after reading the text. D. Kuhn suggests an ideal model whereby readers compare the evidence they have for their prior beliefs with the evidence in a persuasive text, consider the relative merits of the opposing evidence, and either retain or change their beliefs accordingly.