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Propaganda and Persuasion

Explore the world of influence in the era of mass media.
Propaganda and Persuasion is rated 3.7 out of 5 by 23.
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Rated 1 out of 5 by from This course is propagandistic Ironically, this course about propaganda is itself rife with propaganda. It has an extremely clear left-wing bias which is obvious in its choices of analogy, often using conservatives, anti-immigration, and anti-vaccine people as propagators of disinformation. This WOULD be fine if they also used examples of left-wing propaganda, of which there are many, but curiously they do not do this. Very ironic! A course about propaganda which uses propaganda itself. Big oof! And big pass.
Date published: 2024-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Bullseye This course was very topical as it dissected the mechanics of propaganda and mis/dis-information. Unfortunately, we live in a time where demonizing the "out" party is done at the highest levels and bizarre conspiracy theories are rampant. Dr. Young explored and explained the mechanics of social manipulation in clear and revealing detail. An excellent and extremely relevant course, it held my interest very much.
Date published: 2024-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent analysis of propaganda and persuasion The historical and contemporary examples used to support the topics are well-researched and clearly presented. This course provides a roadmap to help one navigate through the vast amounts of misinformation that surrounds us.
Date published: 2023-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Compliment to other Great Courses This series of lectures on Propaganda and Persuasion by Dr. Young integrates nicely into several other related courses from The Teaching Company, such as: • Understanding Cognitive Biases • Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills • Fighting Misinformation: Digital Media Literacy • How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making • How Ideas Spread • Storytelling and the Human Condition • The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals • The Art of Video Storytelling Individually, each of these courses provide valuable insights into how our minds work. Collectively, they help us become more aware of our individual limitations while providing us with a hopeful suite of tools and perspectives that can help us overcome those limitations. The only negative point I would make about Dr. Young’s Propaganda and Persuasion lectures was the all-to-frequent use of visual vignetting. I don’t know what message (if any) that was intended to convey, or perhaps what visual elements it was intending to cover, but I found it to be distracting and rather annoying.
Date published: 2023-08-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Could be WAY better - the delivery is lacking This documentary could be WAY better than it is - but the content is designed like reading off the dictionary to you. It doesn't matter if the host is trying to present the content as a lecture: If I went and read the dictionary off to you - as a condensed, rapid-fire - you'd say the same thing > What am I even supposed to take away from reading off the dictionary one page after the other? It doesn't come across as a focused topic, that's for sure.
Date published: 2023-08-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Important topic. Weak professor. ugggh. It feels so weird to be taught by a left-wing professor. I feel like I am being told to sit still in a first-grade class. She seems to lack the pizazz of her favorite professors. Her examples are cliche or woke or just does not have a discerning sense of what is going on. For example, she uses Covid messaging and just misses what had happened during that time. She uses her platform to take potshots at Trump. Her style of teaching reflects a sense of failed authoritarian wokeness that secretly or unknowingly espouses. Listen to the lecture because it's important, but try not to be repulsed. YOU CAN DO BETTER GREAT COURSES!
Date published: 2023-07-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Timely Course A very timely course for our times. I found it a good survey of the subject of propaganda and I thought the presenter did a good job. I found it worth my time and would recommend it.
Date published: 2023-07-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great introduction to the subject! As usual I feel very compfortable with the Wondrium content, this subject is as relevant as ever. I liked the focus on contemporaneous subjects and very much a good amount of the history behing propaganda.
Date published: 2023-07-06
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Propaganda and Persuasion gives you a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the powerful, fascinating, and at times dangerous world of influence. Taught by Professor Dannagal G. Young of the University of Delaware, these 12 eye-opening lectures arm you with the tools of effective communication and the insight to understand—and perhaps resist—persuasion in all its forms.


Dannagal G. Young

As individuals who have free will, who have agency to alter how we engage with persuasive messages, we always have the ability to update our beliefs in response to them—or not.


University of Delaware

Dannagal G. Young is a Professor of Communication at the University of Delaware. She received her PhD in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication. In addition to her books Irony and Outrage and Wrong, she has written more than 60 academic articles and book chapters and has published extensively in the popular press. She has also appeared on CNN, NPR, and various national and international podcasts. Her 2020 TED talk explaining how our psychology shapes our politics has been viewed 2 million times.

By This Professor

Propaganda and Persuasion
Propaganda and Persuasion


How Propaganda and Persuasion Differ

01: How Propaganda and Persuasion Differ

Your course begins with an introduction to persuasion. What is it and how is it different from coercion, manipulation, and propaganda? After considering free will and how people must choose to change an attitude or belief, you will reflect on the ethics of persuasion and the social responsibility of those hoping to persuade us.

29 min
Early Fears of Mass Persuasion

02: Early Fears of Mass Persuasion

The rise of mass media in the 20th century fundamentally changed the human experience. Now the masses could have collective experiences through mass communication. Social scientists wondered whether these forces would improve society or make individuals subject to manipulation. Explore the beginnings of “public relations.”

30 min
Propaganda of the Third Reich

03: Propaganda of the Third Reich

One of the most consequential demonstrations of mass mediated propaganda comes from the Third Reich. Examine how Nazi leaders studied mass media and used it to build an authoritarian regime of death and destruction. See how the concepts of “manipulation,” “canalization,” and “supplementation” lay the groundwork for propaganda.

38 min
Persuasion of the American Consumer

04: Persuasion of the American Consumer

After World War II, mass media took another giant leap with the development of consumer advertising techniques that relied on meaning rather than features to sell products. Delve into the world of “Mad Men” to see how they shaped American life—and propped up the American economy in the post-war era.

30 min
The Role of Attitudes in Persuasion

05: The Role of Attitudes in Persuasion

If persuasion is about changing attitudes, what is an “attitude”? In this lecture, consider how attitudes are learned feelings about some object, how attitudes are formed, and how they can be changed. Your study takes you into the wild world of market research, cognitive dissonance, social biases, and other concepts.

33 min
Rational and Irrational Paths to Persuasion

06: Rational and Irrational Paths to Persuasion

Long before mass media existed, Aristotle wrote about “pathos” (an appeal to our emotions) and “logos” (an appeal to reason) as approaches to persuasion. Today, are we won over by the head or the heart? Here, you will examine the complex interplay of the rational and the irrational—and the connection to our motivations.

27 min
Persuading with Reason

07: Persuading with Reason

How do you explain the difference between what someone says and how they act? The “theory of reasoned action” and the “theory of planned behavior” offer insights into the complicated world of decision-making. Professor Young illustrates when persuasion by reason is the right approach.

27 min
Persuading with Emotion

08: Persuading with Emotion

Fear is a powerful tool of persuasion. By studying examples from political advertising and public health campaigns, you will see how messages that are threatening can produce fear and how that can motivate us toward action. But as you will uncover, fear alone may not be enough to persuade people to act.

30 min
Persuading with Humor, Stories, and Framing

09: Persuading with Humor, Stories, and Framing

Shift your attention from the fearful to the funny. Consider how storytelling affects our emotions and how it can persuade us by allowing us to root for a protagonist. In a similar vein, humor and satire disarm our resistance to persuasion. Find out what happens in your mind when you hear a good joke.

31 min
Persuading through Social Identity

10: Persuading through Social Identity

Identity has a strong hold on our lives. Self-categorization, social comparisons, and group norms are all elements of our “social identity,” which shape our attitudes in ways we might not expect. Learn how in-group and out-group thinking influence what we value, what we believe, and how we behave.

30 min
Propaganda and Persuasion in Social Media

11: Propaganda and Persuasion in Social Media

The mass media of the 20th century has given way to social media in the 21st century, which creates a host of new challenges around propaganda. Delve into some of the ways digital technologies, in general, and social media, in particular, are used to spread propaganda. Learn to guard yourself against new forms of media manipulation.

33 min
Misinformation: Audience over Message

12: Misinformation: Audience over Message

Beyond propaganda, conspiracy theories flourish in our age of new digital media. Survey the strategies of how false information is constructed and spread across audiences—and why conspiracy theories are different from, and more dangerous than, simple misinformation.

35 min