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Communication and Cognition Essay Sample

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Communication and Cognition Essay Sample


            Research is diverse in nature and the aims are even more diverse. It would be interesting to note that getting the compliance of the participants and extracting information that would enhance the results is not an easy task. Appropriate parameters must be assessed and determined before embarking on the actual research technique. The cooperation of the patients needs to be solicited many a time without their awareness in research in the medical field. Compliance gaining strategies to elicit maximum and optimum results are discussed in this paper.

Compliance-Gaining Strategies

            Compliance-gaining is persuasion aimed at getting others to do something and act in a particular way (Toon, 2002). Traditional persuasion and compliance-gaining are different. Studies of compliance-gaining have concentrated on influence in interpersonal, face-to-face contexts rather than in one-tomany contexts (Toon, 2002). The emphasis in interpersonal research has primarily been on “senders” rather than “receivers.” While persuasion research has identified with most effective strategies, research on compliance- gaining identifies those strategies that are most likely to be used by a consumer.

            Cialdini (1987) found six principles on which compliance professionals base their

psychological influence attempts. The commitment /consistency principle believes in using earlier messages and relying on a later low-ball tactic to increase sales. In automobile sales, the agent quotes a competitive low price for which the client falls for. Once the customer has made the decision to purchase a specific car and starts filling out the forms, the salesman slowly reduces the price advantage by pushing in new costs for some accessory items. The customer would not realize that he is paying more than what he bargained for.

            The Reciprocity principle says that people are bound by a feeling to reciprocate an earlier act of favor (Cialdini, 1987). This is why the American Disabled Veterans send address labels to all the free offers, catalogs and shipping.

            The Social Validation principle elaborates that people believe that they make less mistakes by social evidence that some others are using certain items to good advantage.

Advertisers use this principle in getting shoppers compliant to purchasing their product.

(Cialdini, 1987).

            The Authority Principle has governed us from when we were young. Getting advice from parents, teachers and peers has kept us safe in our decision making. We looked up to them for the rewards and punishments too. When older, we look up to judges, policemen and doctors. People listen to advice if they believe that the person is knowledgeable and trustworthy. (Cialdini and Rhoads, 2001). Proving honesty is not easy. Some advertisers profess that their product is second in the market but that they try harder. These tactics work most of the time.

            The Scarcity Principle is interesting. A dress in a shop may be what you desire but you have not made up your mind yet and plan to make another visit later to decide. However should the salesgirl announce that the dress is the last one, you immediately change your mind and purchase it. This is psychological reactance. Another method is scarcity of time. The persuader tells you that the ‘offer’ is limited to a short period and you fall for the ‘offer’.

            Friendship or Liking Principle is another technique of making customers compliant (Cialdini, 1987). All of us nurse this tendency of purchasing from a familiar person or shop in the context of friendship and trust.  This explains the success of  Tupperware parties. A host organizes the party boosting it with delicacies. The friends and acquaintances who attend the party feel for the host when it comes to buying the Tupperware. They have no ‘feelings’ for the items.

Cognitive Model of Learning

Comprehension –Steps 1-3

            When faced with a new text, readers have a tendency to predict what the matter is to be read, what knowledge is relevant for the reading and what strategies would be useful in approaching the new text. This is all part of an unconscious act that appears to be how we are oriented in this world. The appearance of pictures helps us predict. The word ‘sports’ might cause someone to just neglect that portion while for another, that maybe the first part to be read. This also stimulates previous information, generating questions like “who won’. Focusing attention, knowledge, reading strategies (what to skip, what to read) are the relevant schemas activated in the process. When the new information connects to prior knowledge and reading strategies, it is called comprehension by researchers. The meeting of the known with the new is one of the fundamental concepts of cognitive learning theory.

Steps 4 & 5- Learning.

            Comprehension does not necessarily lead to learning of a useful kind. Activities which enrich the knowledge must be indulged in like taking notes, summarizing, outlining, making analogies, repeating to oneself, creating mental images and similar activities known as elaboration. When elaborated and richly integrated, the new knowledge becomes useful and meaningful. It is this that differentiates between good and bad readers (Grow,1994)

Steps 6 & 7-Recall and reconstruction

            Knowledge is not stored as linear prose but as a dynamic interlinked network in which schemas, scripts, narratives or other forms are linked by multiple relationships.

Organization of memory is similar. No one can always recall the knowledge verbatim. Most of the knowledge is reconstructed. Sometimes we even infer from our old knowledge things that we never really learned. “Cognition is an active, recursive, integrated process by which we continuously model the world and continuously modify the model.”( Grow, 1994 &1996).

Strategies of readers

In the new view, readers read with  purpose, meaning and goals. They are believed to employ two strategies for reading: cognitive and metacognitive. Cognitive strategies help the reader understand written text. Metacognitive strategies govern the cognitive strategies and enable one to manage the process of reading. Researchers discuss motivation, focusing attention, managing time, deciding what to read along with methods of reading under metacognition. Practically both levels of strategies work together.

Several activities are involved in the process of reading: “categorizing, previewing, comparing and connecting and organizing ideas, filling blanks in their knowledge structures, evaluating evidence, arguing with what they read, passing and withholding judgment, summarizing, hypothesis testing and modification, predicting clarifying, generating questions, agreeing, disagreeing, anticipating, learning new concepts, deciding what is important, skipping, problem-solving, making unexpected connections, reflecting, reviewing, comparing, analyzing, synthesizing, looping back strategies for comprehending words, sentences, segments of text, conventions of writing and organization.” (Grow, 1994 &1996).Cognitive models can be box and arrow models, computational models, symbolic models, subsymbolic, hybrid or dynamic models.

The relation between cognition and compliance gaining

              Stanczak et al (2006) studied two patients with differing kinds of aphasia. The aim of the study was rehabilitation of the patients with certain techniques which were compliant with the conditions of the recovering patients. Patient SA had a CVA involving the temporal-parietal lobe. She had conduction aphasia i.e.mainly phonological defects while the other patient RB had a CVA involving the temporal/parietal lobe extending to the frontal lobe. He had semantic deficits in addition to transcortical aphasia. Plaut’s model and the Complexity Account of Treatment Efficacy were investigated in typicality based learning and generalization. Both had their aphasia quotients examined using the Western Aphasia Battery. They underwent a weekly treatment of 2 hours.

            Both were patients who were recovering from strokes and were not reading or speaking well. The aim of the experiment was to teach these severely anomic patients to relearn their speaking ability and improve on their memory too. 32 digitized color pictures of familiar birds and vegetables were used as typical and atypical items. They were presented randomly and asked to name within 20 secs. Self corrections were allowed. Compliance gaining was possible through the online technique involved, the digitized color pictures for the patients who had certain deficits, repeating the tests till the patients responded, the permission of self corrections, one patient being given more time for the responses as she had a reading therapy too, all testing and therapy provided by a speech pathologist and the weekly treatment.

SA was trained on 8 atypical vegetables and 8 typical birds. RB was trained with 8 typical vegetables and 8 atypical birds. Differences of typicality based learning and generalization could be assessed within and across participants. Repeatedly naming articles was the procedure adopted for training. If they did not name correctly at the final attempt, the training was repeated. SA fared better where semantic scores were concerned. She named more birds than vegetables and more atypical items than typical. Her phonology improved but repetition score came down. RB showed good response for naming equal number of birds and vegetables and it was the same for the typical and atypical scores. He also showed a poor maintenance of performance. Both patients learned typical items faster.

            Toon (2002) investigated on-line use and the effectiveness of compliance gaining in health-related banner advertisements for senior citizens. The study was to determine the frequency of appearance of the ads and explore the relative perceived effectiveness among the various categories of compliance gaining tactics. 2 students sorted out the text messages into previously determined categories. Chi square tests looked for significant differences in the frequencies of ads in the different categories. 45 senior citizens participated in the surveys. The hypothesis that there would be differences in frequencies of compliance-gaining strategies used among the compliance-gaining categories in health  related banner ads on the World Wide Web for senior citizens was supported.

            The messages contained in the banner ads represent compliance gaining strategies.

A behavioral response may be a click or just a reading of the banner. Health being an interesting topic to senior citizens, it was one compliance strategy in itself.

Health related organizations like hospitals, clinics, retirement facilities, medical schools, Government Departments like the Department of Human and Health Services and commercial establishments could be putting up these ads on the Internet. In the Pilot study,  24 health banners were discovered in the 76 downloaded banners. The salience of health is thereby a strong compliance gaining strategy for senior citizens whose thoughts would mostly be those of health. Banner ads with animation  and sound increased ‘ the eye-catching effect’. It has been found that customers were interested if there were more click-throughs. Apart from the ‘attractiveness’ the content is also essential to gain the compliance of customers. The click-throughs is the best measure of advertising response on the internet.


         Compliance gaining strategies are an essential part of research. The most and best results can then be expected. Depending on the type of participant and the targets of research, appropriate compliance techniques need to be employed. Traditional persuasion to participate in a research study may usher in even reluctant participants which could lead to half-hearted attempts and thereby give unreliable results. Through compliance gaining tactics we identify those strategies which are most likely to be accepted by the consumer or participant. The six principles of Cialdini give a complete picture of compliance gaining.


Cialdini, R. B. (1987). Compliance principles of compliance professionals: Psychologists

of necessity. In M. Zanna, J. Olson & C. P. Herman (Eds.), Social Influence: The

Ontario symposium (Vol. 5, pp. 165–184). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Cialdini, R. B., & Rhoads, K. v. L. (2001). Human behavior in the marketplace.

Marketing Research, 13(3), 8-13.

Grow, Gerald; Prof. of Journalism, Florida A & M University, “Serving the Strategic Reader: Cognitive reading theory and its implications for the Teaching of Writing”, 1994 &1996,           4/4/2003      25/4/08       http://www.longleaf.net/ggrow/StrategicReader/StratModel.html

Stanczak et al,  1/2/06, 16/4/08,    Aphasiology, Vol 20, Issue 2, Pgs 374-383


Toon, Michelle Anne; “A study of on-line use and perceived effectiveness of

compliance-gaining in health-related banner advertisements for senior citizens’ Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of North Texas, December 2002

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