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

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

by Julie Sedivy, Greg Carlson

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Overview

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.

Click here for more discussion and debate on the authors’ blog:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sold-language

[Wiley disclaims all responsibility and liability for the content of any third-party websites that can be linked to from this website. Users assume sole responsibility for accessing third-party websites and the use of any content appearing on such websites.  Any views expressed in such websites are the views of the authors of the content appearing on those websites and not the views of Wiley or its affiliates, nor do they in any way represent an endorsement by Wiley or its affiliates.]

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119996088
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 330
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Julie Sedivy is Adjunct Professor of Linguistics and Psychology at the University of Calgary, Canada. She has published dozens of research articles on her experimental studies of language comprehension and production in children and adults. She has served as Associate Editor for the journal Linguistics and Philosophy, and as a consulting editor for the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.

Greg Carlson is Professor of Linguistics, Philosophy, and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester, US. He has authored or co-authored more than a hundred articles on natural language semantics and psycholinguistics. He is the Editor of Language, the journal of the Linguistic Society of America.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors.

Preface. 1 The Power of Choice.

2 The Unconscious Consumer.

3 The Attentional Arms Race.

4 We Know What You’re Thinking.

5 Why Ads Don’t Say What They Mean (Or Mean What They Say).

6 Acting Out.

7 Divide and Conquer.

8 The Politics of Choice.

Sources.

Index.

What People are Saying About This

Geoffrey Nunberg

Tell most people that advertisers and politicians exploit language to manipulate desire and opinion, and they'll likely respond "So what else is new?" – and then go on to add, "though, mind you, I'm not fooled for an instant." But advertisers eat that self-assurance for breakfast food; they know that no audience is so easy to beguile as one that's smugly confident in its own sophistication. With engaging examples and lucid explanations, Sedivy and Carlson document the persuasive power that inhabits every corner of language – not just in the familiar puffery of adjectives like "new and improved," but the implications hidden in little words like your and the. Whether you're a student of language or just a consumer of it, you'll come away from Sold on Language a bit more humble and a lot more attentive – and by the by, with an appreciation of how much more there is to language than the wisdom we acquired in seventh grade at the end of Sister Petra's ruler.

Geoffrey Nunberg, University of California at Berkeley, Language commentator, "Fresh Air," NPR

Barry Schwartz

"In this wise and witty book, Julie Sedivy and Gregory Carlson use modern research in psychology, linguistics, and psycholinguistics to show us how little of what we choose is the result of reasoned and conscious deliberation. We like to think of ourselves as being in charge of our lives: we're not. Sold on Language may not be 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 have against being manipulated by others."

Professor Barry Schwartz, Department of Psychology, Swarthmore College and author of ‘The Paradox of Choice’, and ‘Practical Wisdom.’

From the Publisher

"In this wise and witty book, Julie Sedivy and Gregory Carlson use modern research in psychology, linguistics, and psycholinguistics to show us how little of what we choose is the result of reasoned and conscious deliberation. We like to think of ourselves as being in charge of our lives: we're not. Sold on Language may not be 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 have against being manipulated by others."
Professor Barry Schwartz, Department of Psychology, Swarthmore College and author of ‘The Paradox of Choice’, and ‘Practical Wisdom’

"Via engaging prose and scientific evidence, Sedivy and Carlson have made a noteworthy contribution by providing fresh and deep insights 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 exploit language to manipulate desire and opinion, and they'll likely respond "So what else is new?" – and then go on to add, "though, mind you, I'm not fooled for an instant." But advertisers eat that self-assurance for breakfast food; they know that no audience is so easy to beguile as one that's smugly confident in its own sophistication. With engaging examples and lucid explanations, Sedivy and Carlson document the persuasive power that inhabits every corner of language – not just in the familiar puffery of adjectives like "new and improved," but the implications hidden in little words like your and the. Whether you're a student of language or just a consumer of it, you'll come away from Sold on Language a bit more humble and a lot more attentive – and by the by, with an appreciation of how much more there is to language than the wisdom we acquired in seventh grade at the end of Sister Petra's ruler.
Geoffrey Nunberg, University of California at Berkeley, Language commentator, "Fresh Air," NPR

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

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