Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What This Says About You

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9780470683095: Sold on Language: How Advertisers Talk to You and What This Says About You
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As citizens of capitalist, free-market societies, we tend to celebrate choice and competition. However, in the 21st century, as we have gained more and more choices, we have also become greater targets for persuasive messages from advertisers who want to make those choices for us.

In Sold on Language, noted language scientists Julie Sedivy and Greg Carlson examine how rampant competition shapes the ways in which commercial and political advertisers speak to us. In an environment saturated with information, advertising messages attempt to compress as much persuasive power into as small a linguistic space as possible. These messages, the authors reveal, might take the form of a brand name whose sound evokes a certain impression, a turn of phrase that gently applies peer pressure, or a subtle accent that zeroes in on a target audience. As more and more techniques of persuasion are aimed squarely at the corner of our mind which automatically takes in information without conscious thought or deliberation, does 'endless choice' actually mean the end of true choice?

Sold on Language offers thought-provoking insights into the choices we make as consumers and citizens – and the choices that are increasingly being made for us.

From the Authors: Five misconceptions About the Effects of Advertising

Coauthor Julie Sedivy
It’s easy to feel as if we’re in control of the choices we make. But as cognitive science is discovering, much of our own thinking remains hidden from our conscious awareness. Sold on Language explores the science of language and persuasion, along the way popping some illusions about how we respond to advertising. Here are a few common misconceptions:
  1. I don’t pay attention to ads, so they don’t affect me.
    You are bombarded by ads, most of which you push to the edges of your attention. But it doesn’t mean you aren’t processing the information in them. Think of your visual system: You have clear, detailed vision (called central vision) in only a very small area where you’re aiming your eyes, but your peripheral vision still sends signals to your brain. When you’re devoting your full attention to a message, you process it in more detail and more skeptically. Peripheral thinking kicks in when you choose not to pay full attention to an ad. It relies on more superficial cues so when you think you’re tuning out an ad, you’re more likely to be persuaded by “truthiness” than by truth.

  2. If I don’t believe an ad, it doesn’t affect me.
    Lies are more effective than you might like to think, even when you know they’re lies. For example, in 2000, John McCain’s run for the Republican Party nomination was badly damaged by false insinuations that he’d fathered a child outside of marriage. Studies have found that people form a poor impression of someone whose name was linked in any way with unsavory behavior--even if it was to clear that person of wrongdoing (for instance in a headline such as “Andrew Winters not Connected to Bank Embezzlement”). And there is a “sleeper” effect of skepticism: A message that is rejected when it’s first heard comes to seem more believable over time. It’s as if the message itself outlives your rejection of it.

  3. Subliminal advertising doesn’t work.
    In 1957, James Vicary claimed to have lured crowds of movie-goers to the snack bar by flashing the commands “Eat popcorn” and “Buy Coca-Cola” for fractions of a second. In the end, Vicary’s controversial “experiment” turned out to be a likely hoax. But recent actual research reveals many ways in which attitudes and behavior can be tweaked by unconsciously perceived information. For example, scientists have seen people shift political attitudes when exposed to the subliminal image of a flag, perform better on a creativity test after watching a subliminal logo for Apple rather than IBM, and yes, under the right circumstances, to crave a specific drink when subliminally “primed” with the product’s name. But there’s no unique or magical power to messages that are too brief to be seen; their effect is just one aspect of the human tendency to suck up, process, and act on as many cues in the environment as possible, without necessarily being aware of having done so.

  4. Today’s consumers are more sophisticated about evaluating advertising than they used to be, and therefore more resistant to its effects.
    Advertising has adapted in interesting ways to public skepticism. One trend has been to move away from ads where the audience passively receives a message, and towards ads where the audience actively re-creates its meaning. For example, one ad for Durex condoms contains no real language at all; it simply has a price tag attached to the company logo ($2.50) and another attached to the image of an elaborate baby toy ($140), leaving the viewer to connect the dots. Implied meanings are especially useful when stating them outright would meet with a lot of resistance. Think of Apple computer’s groundbreaking “1984” commercial. Many understood the ad to mean that Apple was going to liberate people from the soul-sucking conformist corporate culture of then-dominant IBM. Of course, Apple couldn’t come right out and say this. But it could lead viewers to draw this conclusion themselves.

  5. The age of mass marketing and consumer conformity is dead, and people now make more choices as individuals.
    Consumers now often use products as a way to express their personalities and values, and it’s easy to mistake this as a sign of individualism. But paradoxically, this trend reflects the fact that consumers are now more malleable to messages that focus on group identity—it’s just that the groups consumers are identifying with are smaller and tighter. The brand itself becomes a symbol of a group identity, and everything about the message—its music, its choice of spokesperson, the words or accent that are used—serves to reinforce this social identity. Whether you drink Pabst Blue Ribbon or Heineken is not just about individual taste and preference; it’s about signaling which tribe you belong to.

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About the Author:

Julie Sedivy is Adjunct Professor of Linguistics andPsychology at the University of Calgary, Canada. She has publisheddozens of research articles on her experimental studies of languagecomprehension and production in children and adults. She has servedas Associate Editor for the journal Linguistics andPhilosophy, and as a consulting editor for the Journal ofExperimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.

Greg Carlson is Professor of Linguistics, Philosophy, andBrain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester, US. Hehas authored or co-authored more than a hundred articles on naturallanguage semantics and psycholinguistics. He is the Editor ofLanguage, the journal of the Linguistic Society ofAmerica.

Review:

"In this wise and witty book, Julie Sedivy and Gregory Carlson usemodern research in psychology, linguistics, and psycholinguisticsto show us how little of what we choose is the result of reasonedand conscious deliberation. We like to think of ourselves as beingin charge of our lives: we're not. Sold on Language may notbe for everyone. But if you shop, it's for you. And if you vote,it's for you. Reading this book may be the best defense you haveagainst being manipulated by others."
Professor Barry Schwartz, Department ofPsychology, Swarthmore College and author of ‘The Paradoxof Choice’, and ‘Practical Wisdom’

"Via engaging prose and scientific evidence, Sedivy and Carlsonhave made a noteworthy contribution by providing fresh and deepinsights into something we thought we'd already understood."
Dr Robert B. Cialdini, Author of Influence:The Psychology of Persuasion

Tell most people that advertisers and politicians exploitlanguage to manipulate desire and opinion, and they'll likelyrespond "So what else is new?" – and then go on to add,"though, mind you, I'm not fooled for an instant." But advertiserseat that self-assurance for breakfast food; they know that noaudience is so easy to beguile as one that's smugly confidentin its own sophistication. With engaging examples and lucidexplanations, Sedivy and Carlson document the persuasive power thatinhabits every corner of language – not just in the familiarpuffery of adjectives like "new and improved," but the implicationshidden in little words like your and the. Whetheryou're a student of language or just a consumer of it, you'll comeaway from Sold on Language a bit more humble and a lot moreattentive – and by the by, with an appreciation of how muchmore there is to language than the wisdom we acquired in seventhgrade at the end of Sister Petra's ruler.
Geoffrey Nunberg, University of California atBerkeley, Language commentator, "Fresh Air," NPR

Language comes to us brilliantly easily. How else could childrenbe learning new words at the incredible rate of 10 a day? But thatease of learning carries with it the risk that we will be obliviousto the power of words – as written or spoken by others– to control our behavior. To all who might want to protectthemselves against that risk, I say: read this book.
Jay Ingram, author of Talk, Talk, Talk,Canada

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Book Description Wiley. Paperback. Condition: New. 336 pages. Dimensions: 9.0in. x 6.0in. x 0.8in.As citizens of capitalist, free-market societies, we tend to celebrate choice and competition. However, in the 21st century, as we have gained more and more choices, we have also become greater targets for persuasive messages from advertisers who want to make those choices for us. In Sold on Language, noted language scientists Julie Sedivy and Greg Carlson examine how rampant competition shapes the ways in which commercial and political advertisers speak to us. In an environment saturated with information, advertising messages attempt to compress as much persuasive power into as small a linguistic space as possible. These messages, the authors reveal, might take the form of a brand name whose sound evokes a certain impression, a turn of phrase that gently applies peer pressure, or a subtle accent that zeroes in on a target audience. As more and more techniques of persuasion are aimed squarely at the corner of our mind which automatically takes in information without conscious thought or deliberation, does endless choice actually mean the end of true choice Sold on Language offers thought-provoking insights into the choices we make as consumers and citizens and the choices that are increasingly being made for us. From the Authors: Five misconceptions About the Effects of Advertising Coauthor Julie Sedivy Its easy to feel as if were in control of the choices we make. But as cognitive science is discovering, much of our own thinking remains hidden from our conscious awareness. Sold on Language explores the science of language and persuasion, along the way popping some illusions about how we respond to advertising. Here are a few common misconceptions: I dont pay attention to ads, so they dont affect me. You are bombarded by ads, most of which you push to the edges of your attention. But it doesnt mean you arent processing the information in them. Think of your visual system: You have clear, detailed vision (called central vision) in only a very small area where youre aiming your eyes, but your peripheral vision still sends signals to your brain. When youre devoting your full attention to a message, you process it in more detail and more skeptically. Peripheral thinking kicks in when you choose not to pay full attention to an ad. It relies on more superficial cues so when you think youre tuning out an ad, youre more likely to be persuaded by truthiness than by truth. If I dont believe an ad, it doesnt affect me. Lies are more effective than you might like to think, even when you know theyre lies. For example, in 2000, John McCains run for the Republican Party nomination was badly damaged by false insinuations that hed fathered a child outside of marriage. Studies have found that people form a poor impression of someone whose name was linked in any way with unsavory behavior--even if it was to clear that person of wrongdoing (for instance in a headline such as Andrew Winters not Connected to Bank Embezzlement). And there is a sleeper effect of skepticism: A message that is rejected when its first heard comes to seem more believable over time. Its as if the message itself outlives your rejection of it. Subliminal advertising doesnt work. In 1957, James Vicary claimed to have lured crowds of movie-goers to the snack bar by flashing the commands Eat popcorn and Buy Coca-Cola for fractions of a second. In the end, Vicarys controversial experiment turned out to be a likely hoax. But recent actual research reveals many ways in which attitudes and behavior can be tweaked by unconsciously perceived information. For example, scientists have seen people shift political attitudes when exposed to the subliminal image of a flag, perform better on a creativity test after watching a subliminal logo for Apple rather than IBM, and yes, under the right circumstances, to crave a speci This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780470683095

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