The Hebrew University Logo
Syllabus Political Persuasion - 50134
close window close
PDF version
Last update 06-10-2021
HU Credits: 2

Degree/Cycle: 2nd degree (Master)

Responsible Department: Communication & Journalism

Semester: 2nd Semester

Teaching Languages: Hebrew

Campus: Mt. Scopus

Course/Module Coordinator: Dr. Eran Amsalem

Coordinator Email:

Coordinator Office Hours: Tuesday, 12:00-13:00, Room 5408

Teaching Staff:
Dr. Eran Amsalem

Course/Module description:
Why do people vote for some political candidates and not for others? Why are some policy proposals accepted, while others get rejected? And how come that some media outlets, and some journalists, are more successful at influencing public opinion than others? At the core of these effects (and many others) lie persuasion processes. This course reviews some of the major factors predicting political persuasion and demonstrates the application of persuasion principles in a variety of political contexts.

Course/Module aims:

Learning outcomes - On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:
Describe the main factors predicting political persuasion and apply them in real-world political contexts.

Attendance requirements(%):

Teaching arrangement and method of instruction: Each class will focus on one issue related to political persuasion. We will begin each meeting with a short lecture in which I will introduce the topic of that lesson in a broad context. Then, one student will present that week's reading material, and another student will present a real-world example from Israeli politics of the main topic discussed in the article. We will conclude each class by discussing the implications of that week's topic for those trying to persuade.

Course/Module Content:
Introduction to political persuasion

Group affiliation and political attitudes

Recipient values

Source credibility

Ambiguity or clarity?

Do negative campaigns work?

Emotions and political persuasion

Political persuasion in interpersonal communication

Voter mobilization

Required Reading:
Introduction to political persuasion

Group affiliation and political attitudes
Barber, M., & Pope, J. C. (2019). Does party trump ideology? Disentangling party and ideology in America. American Political Science Review, 113(1), 38-54.

Recipient values
Feinberg, M., & Willer, R. (2015). From gulf to bridge: When do moral arguments facilitate political influence? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(12), 1665-1681.

Source credibility
Druckman, J. N. (2001). On the limits of framing effects: Who can frame? The Journal of Politics, 63(4), 1041-1066.

Ambiguity or clarity?
Milita, K., Simas, E. N., Ryan, J. B., & Krupnikov, Y. (2017). The effects of ambiguous rhetoric in congressional elections. Electoral Studies, 46, 48-63.

Do negative campaigns work?
Lau, R. R., Sigelman, L., & Rovner, I. B. (2007). The effects of negative political campaigns: A meta-analytic reassessment. The Journal of Politics, 69(4), 1176-1209.

Emotions and political persuasion
Brader, T. (2005). Striking a responsive chord: How political ads motivate and persuade voters by appealing to emotions. American Journal of Political Science, 49(2), 388-405.

Political persuasion in interpersonal communication
Kalla, J. L., & Broockman, D. E. (2020). Reducing exclusionary attitudes through interpersonal conversation: Evidence from three field experiments. American Political Science Review, 114(2), 410-425.

Voter mobilization
Gerber, A. S., Green, D. P., & Larimer, C. W. (2008). Social pressure and voter turnout: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment. American Political Science Review, 102(1), 33-48.

Additional Reading Material:

Course/Module evaluation:
End of year written/oral examination 0 %
Presentation 30 %
Participation in Tutorials 0 %
Project work 40 %
Assignments 0 %
Reports 30 %
Research project 0 %
Quizzes 0 %
Other 0 %

Additional information:
Grades will be based on weekly responses to the reading materials (30%), a presentation of an article in class (30%), and a final paper (40%).
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Diagnosis and Support of Students with Learning Disabilities, or the Office for Students with Disabilities, as early as possible, to discuss and coordinate accommodations, based on relevant documentation.
For further information, please visit the site of the Dean of Students Office.