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University of Oklahoma

Spring 2022 Advanced Programs - Advanced Programs Face to Face or Virtual - Communication

[COMM 5453] Social Influence - 101

John Banas

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce you to the classic and current theories pertaining to the nature of social influence. We will take a broad perspective, considering issues typically included under the rubric of “persuasion,” as well as influence via nonverbal channels, and influence in the contexts of mass media. Because this seminar functions as an introduction to an extensive literature, the discussions and readings associated with each of the theories will necessarily be abbreviated. However, the expectation is that students will read beyond the required articles and book chapters in their areas of special interest.

Our Primary Goal is to comprehend a detailed picture of both the traditional and contemporary thinking in this field. We will investigate how people think of, feel about, and respond to a range of social influence approaches. Our analysis will include many of the methods influence sources employ to manipulate their targets in various contexts, along with the means by which the targets of influence may choose to respond to such manipulation. In conjunction with social influence theories, we will also be studying several related theories dealing with various cognitive, affective, and motivational processes. 

Class Dates, Format, Location and Hours

Dates: February 7-13, 2022
Format: Face to Face
Location for on-site courses: Washington D.C.
Hours: Monday - Friday 6:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sunday 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Site Director

Name: Frances Wolf, M.Ed.

Professor Contact Information

Course Professor:John Banas, Ph.D.
Mailing Address:University of Oklahoma
Department of Communication
Norman, Ok 73019
Telephone Number:(512) 585-5104 (cell)
Professor availability:The professor will be available via email to students before and after the class sessions. Face to Face office hours are half an hour before and after each class session, by appointment.

Textbook(s) and Instructional Materials

Student materials are available at the OU Bookstore Website at The website has book selling, renting, buying, returning, and order tracking capabilities. If you need help with an order, or if you have any questions contact the toll-free phone at 1-(855)-790-6637, agents are available from 9a – 5p (EST) Monday – Friday. Text prices are available online.

Each theoretical area will have journal articles and/or book chapters. These readings will be made available electronically via e-mail or by password protected website at least 60 days prior to the first day of class.

 Materials posted on the OU Canvas system: Access Canvas at; enter your OU NetID and password and select course to access material. Please contact your local Site Director if you require assistance.

Influence The Psychology of Persuasion
Influence The Psychology of Persuasion
by Robert B. Cialdini
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780061241895

Course Objectives

A primary goal of this course is to present a detailed picture of the traditional and current thinking in the field of social influence, in an attempt to understand how people’s thought processes, emotions, mood states, feelings, and interactive behaviors function in various influence contexts.

Course Outline

For the most part, this class will be conducted as a seminar with the expectation that all members will participate actively in class discussion. Participants are therefore expected to come to each class having thoroughly prepared for that class session.  The following is a guide and may be modified as the seminar progresses.

       I.           Introduction and Weapons of Influence

a.      Readings: Cialdini Ch. 1-4

     II.           Weapons of Influence

a.      Readings: Rest of Cialdini Book

  III.           Message Processing: Message Processing

a.      Readings: TBA

  IV.           Affect

a.      Readings: TBA

    V.           Language and Message Features

a.      Readings:

  VI.           Resisting Influence: Reactance and Inoculation

a.      Readings: TBA

VII.           Conformity

a.      Readings:TBA


Assignments, Grading and Due Dates


Students should have read the bulk of the readings before the course begins and should be prepared to discuss the assigned readings each class session. This seminar will be conducted at a graduate level; the course professor will act more as a facilitator than a lecturer. This means participants are responsible for providing considered, informed, and active contributions to the discussion.

Reflection Papers:

Each day, beginning with the first day of class, you will prepare a brief reflection, speculation, comment, or question concerning an aspect of the currently assigned reading (see above). You may take one or more concepts from the assigned reading and relate them to an incident you have either experienced or observed in your own everyday life. Your reflections must be typed, double-spaced, and no more than one page in length (see attached samples). Reflections must be turned in (attached) via e-mail two hours prior to the beginning of the relevant class.

Oral Presentations:

As mentioned above, each student will act as a guest lecturer, assigned to give a brief oral presentation based on—and scheduled to coincide with—a specific portion of the course content (see below). Prepare to lead the class discussion by delving beyond the assigned readings in one specific area. You should highlight important aspects of your featured theory, provide information on the empirical evidence supporting the theory, and discuss key conceptual debates and criticisms in the literature, as well as in your mind.

Analysis Paper:

A 15-page analysis paper will be due March 1, 2022. Each student will incorporate at least five theoretical concepts from class to analyze a social influence event (e.g., political campaign, commercial advertisement, public relations strategy, recruitment campaign, etc).

Sample Reflection attached.

Attached files:


This is a letter-graded course: A, B, C, D, or F.

AssignmentDue DatePercent of grade
Reflections1 hour before each subsequent class25%
Oral PresentationsDuring class sessions25%
Class DiscussionDuring class sessions15%
AnalysisMarch 1, 202235%

Incomplete Grade Policy

Notice: Failure to meet assignment due dates could result in a grade of I (Incomplete) and may adversely impact Tuition Assistance and/or Financial Aid.


Attendance/Grade Policy

Attendance and participation in interaction, individual assignments, group exercises, simulations, role playing, etc. are valuable aspects of any course because much of the learning comes from discussions in class with other students. It is expected that you attend all classes and be on time except for excused emergencies.

Excused absences are given for professor mandated activities or legally required activities such as emergencies or military assignments. It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. Unavoidable personal emergencies, including (but not limited to) serious illness; delays in getting to class because of accidents, etc.; deaths and funerals, and hazardous road conditions will be excused.

If you are obtaining financial assistance (TA, STAP, FA, VA, Scholarship, etc.) to pay all or part of your tuition cost, you must follow your funding agency/institution’s policy regarding “I” (Incomplete) grades unless the timeline is longer than what the University policy allows then you must adhere to the University policy. Students who receive Financial Aid must resolve/complete any “I” (Incomplete) grades by the end of the term or he/she may be placed on “financial aid probation.” If the “I” grade is not resolved/completed by the end of the following term, the student’s Financial Aid may be suspended make the student ineligible for further Financial Aid.

Students are responsible for meeting the guidelines of Tuition Assistance and Veterans Assistance. See the education counselor at your local education center for a complete description of your TA or VA requirements.

OU faculty will submit grades online through ONE not later than 30 days after the course end date. Course end dates are approximately one calendar month after the final seminar date on this syllabus and are provided on the official scheduling website for reference.

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct 

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship. Academic assignments exist to help students learn; grades exist to show how fully this goal is attained. Therefore all work and all grades should result from the student's own understanding and effort.

Academic misconduct is any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement. Misconduct occurs when the student either knows or reasonably should know that the act constitutes misconduct. Academic misconduct includes: cheating and using unauthorized materials on examinations and other assignments; improper collaboration, submitting the same assignment for different classes (self-plagiarism); fabrication, forgery, alteration of documents, lying, etc…in order to obtain an academic advantage; assisting others in academic misconduct; attempting to commit academic misconduct; destruction of property, hacking, etc…; intimidation and interference with integrity process; and plagiarism. All students should review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at 

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. All students should review policies regarding student conduct at 

Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to making its activities as accessible as possible. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact your local OU Site Director.

Adjustment for Pregnancy/Childbirth-Related Issues

Should you need modifications or adjustments to your course requirements because of documented pregnancy-related or childbirth-related issues, please contact the professor as soon as possible to discuss. Generally, modifications will be made where medically necessary and similar in scope to accommodations based on temporary disability. Please see

Title IX Resources

For any concerns regarding gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate partner violence, the University offers a variety of resources, including advocates on-call 24/7, counseling services, mutual no-contact orders, scheduling adjustments, and disciplinary sanctions against the perpetrator. Please contact the Sexual Misconduct Office at or (405) 325-2215 (8-5), or the Sexual Assault Response Team at (405) 615 -0013 (24/7) to report an incident. To learn more about Title IX, please visit the Institutional Equity Office’s website at 

Course Policies

Extended Campus (also and formerly known as Advanced Programs) policy is to order books in paperback if available. Courses, dates, and professors are subject to change. Please check with your OU Site Director. Students should retain a copy of any assignments that are e/mailed to the professor for the course. Neither duplicating services nor office supplies are provided.

Any and all course materials, syllabus, lessons, lectures, etc. are the property of professor teaching the course and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and are protected under applicable copyright.

For more information about OU Extended Campus, visit our website at:

Statement on Respect

The classroom should provide a safe learning environment where students can express their views without fear of reprisal. That freedom of expression must be balanced by demonstrated respect for other’s viewpoints and appropriate and reasonable sensitivity, especially within the context of scholarly disagreement.  Disrespectful or uncivil dialogue (including, but not limited to, personal attacks, insults, or harassment) will not be tolerated.

Recording Devices/Phones/Computers

It is important for students to be fully present during class to fully benefit from lectures, discussions, and experiential assignments. Class sessions may not be tape-recorded. All telephones and pagers should be turned off or placed on silent mode. Computers may not be used during class. Students who require an exception to this policy should discuss exceptional circumstances with the professor.



John A. Banas, Ph.D.


·        Ph. D.  2005, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Communication Studies

·        M.A.   2001, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Speech

·        B.A.    1998, Michigan State University, Major: Communication

Current Position

Associate Professor, Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma

Frequently Taught College of Professional and Continuing Studies Courses

·        Strategic Communication Campaigns

·        Interpersonal Communication

·        Social Influence

Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest

My major areas of teaching focus on interpersonal communication and social influence. I teach a variety of classes, ranging from Communication and Humor to Social Influence Theory. My research program primarily focuses on persuasion and resistance from a cognitive perspective. I am particularly interested in counter arguing and how interpersonal communication influences resistance and cognition.

Representative Publications and Presentations

·        Banas, J. A., Dibble, J. L., Drouin, M., & Bessarabova, E. (2021). Unextinguished flames can still be dangerous: Examining back burner digital communication among exes and non-exes. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

·        Richards, A. S., Bessarabova, E., Banas, J. A., & Bernard, D. R. (2021). Reducing psychological reactance to health promotion messages: Comparing preemptive and postscript mitigation strategies. Health Communication

·        Rains, S. A., Keating, D. M., Banas, J. A., Richards, A., & Palomares, N. A. (2020). The state and evolution of communication research: A topic modeling analysis of 20,000 journal article abstracts from 1918-2015. Computational Communication Research, 2, 203-234.

·        Banas, J. A., Bessarabova, E., & Massey, Z. B. (2020). Reducing prejudice via mediated contact: A meta-analysis. Human Communication Research, 46, 120-160.

·        Banas, J. A., Bisel, R. S., Kramer, M. W., & Massey, Z. (2019). The serious business of instructional humor outside the classroom: a study of elite gymnastic coaches’ uses of humor during training. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 47, 628–647.

·        Keating, D. M., Richards, A. S., Palomares, N. A., Banas, J. A., Joyce, N., & Rains, S. A. (2019). Titling practices and their implications in communication research 1970-2010: Cutesy cues

carry citation consequences. Communication Research, 46, 1-22. (online)

·        Richards, A., & Banas, J. A. (2018). The opposing mediational effects of apprehensive threat and motivational threat when inoculating against reactance to health promotion. Southern Communication Journal, 83, 245-255. doi: 10.1080/1041794X.2018.1498909 

·        Banas, J. A., & Richards, A. (2017). Apprehension or motivation to defend attitudes? Exploring the underlying threat mechanism in inoculation-induced resistance to persuasion. Communication Monographs, 84, 164-178. doi: 10.1080/03637751.2017.1307999

·        Richards, A., & Banas, J. A. (2015). Inoculating against reactance to persuasive health messages. Health Communication 30, 451-460.

·        Banas, J. A., & Miller, G. (2013). Inducing resistance to conspiracy theory propaganda: Testing inoculation and meta-inoculation strategies. Human Communication Research, 40, 1-24.

·        Dunbar, N. E., Banas, J. A, Rodriguez, D., Liu, S. -J., & Abra, G. (2012). Humor use in power-differentiated interactions. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 25, 469-489.

·        Banas, J. A., Turner, M. M., & Shulman, H. (2012). A test of competing hypotheses of the effects of mood on persuasion. Communication Quarterly, 60, 143-164 (lead article).

·        Banas, J. A., & Turner, M. M. (2011). Exploring the “that’s-not-all” effect: A test of theoretical explanations. Southern Communication Journal, 76, 305-322.

·        Banas, J. A., Dunbar, N., Rodriguez, D., & Liu, S.-J. (2011). A review of humor in educational settings: Four decades of research. Communication Education, 60, 115-144.

·        Banas, J. A., & Rains, S. A. (2010). A meta-analysis of research on inoculation theory. Communication Monographs, 77, 281-311 (lead article).

Representative Honors and Awards Received

·        2013 University of Oklahoma General Education Teaching Award

·        2008 OU College of Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Fellowship

Major Professional Affiliations

·        Member, National Communication Association

·        Member, International Communication Association