I found the socio-psychological tradition theory in chapter four, to be very interesting as well as useful in my studies right now. I just watched “An Inconvenient Truth,” in my environmental studies, global climate change class. After watching the documentary we discussed how communication is such a powerful tool that can move and inspire people across borders. According to the author there are three causes of persuasive variation: who, what and whom (Griffin, 42). What is presented, the way it is presented, and who presents it and as well as audience perception, need all be taken into account. All three cause have a direct link between a statement being mere information, or becoming persuasion. Source credibility has a lot to do with persuasion to change among audience members. As a viewer of the documentary by Al Gore, I found him to be a very credible source. The majority of my class agreed that Gore's sincerity and passion were great factors, contributing to our belief in him and his argument. Griffin states that expertness is more crucial than character as far as ability to change audience members opinions (43). By making this documentary, Gore not only got his message out through a mass media public arena, but he was also able to travel city to city to personally present it. Griffin explains that the persuasive effects on source credibility, regarding expertness, only have long term effects, when there is a re-established connection between the source and its message (43). The publicity and mass media response to Gore's documentary and his speech tour became the link between the source (Gore) and the message (global warming). Thus making his credibility that much more effective and significant in “boosting opinion change” (43).
I love being able to apply what I am learning in all of my classes, and this is a prime example. I enjoyed watching the documentary not just as an information consumer, but as an educated and critical thinker.