About The Course
Welcome Message

Welcome to the CoursePlus Web site for INTRODUCTION TO PERSUASIVE COMMUNICATIONS: THEORIES AND PRACTICE (410.650.01), a course offered by the Department of Health Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Course Description

Readings, lectures, discussions, and exercises prepare students to apply selected social-psychological and health communication theories and research to the development of effective health messages. Emphasizes critical thinking skills in analyzing core elements of persuasive communication and the applicability of social science theory to health campaigns. Also emphasizes theory. It is designed with the old adage that there is nothing more practical than a good theory. Although the application of theory in designing effective messages is an important element of the course, the primary focus is on understanding various theoretical approaches to effective message design, cognitive processing, and attitude change.

Course Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course, students should be able to (l) identify primary persuasive communication strategies used for promoting attitude change, (2) identify and select appropriate theories of health behavior change for use in interventions, and (3) design theoretically based persuasive messages for promoting health behavior change.

Course Time

Mon Wed   1:30 PM to 3:20 PM

Course Faculty

Previous course in psychology, preferably social psychology, required of undergraduates

Intended Audience

Undergraduates with prior exposure to and further interest in social psychology; Master’s students with an interest in understanding how theory informs message design; Ph.D. students interested in health communication research.

Grading Policy & Grading Restrictions

Grading Policy: Student evaluation based on an exam and a final project.

Grading Restrictions: Letter grade

Textbooks Required

  • Cialdini, R.C. (2009). Influence: Science and practice (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Perloff, R. M. (2007). The dynamics of persuasion: Communication and attitudes in the 21st century  (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Additional readings