Understanding social influence: Relations between lay and technical perspectives

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This essay urges an appropriately complicated view of the relationship of the actor's and the researcher's perspectives on persuasion and social influence. As a foil for this project, it initially sketches an interpretive‐phenomenological approach that takes the researcher's central project to be that of describing the actor's point of view. It then argues that because commonsensical conceptions of how persuasion works contain beliefs that are not well‐founded, reproducing the actor's perspective will yield an inevitably inadequate account of social influence. For quantitative studies of persuasion, this points to the importance of assessing actual (as opposed to perceived) message effects; for qualitative investigations, this emphasizes the dangers of unreflective reliance on interview data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-238
JournalCommunication Studies
StatePublished - 1993


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