Targeting an audience: A discussion of relevant variables and a test of priming

I co-authored this article with Kaylin Lane, as first year graduate students at Illinois State University. After designing and implementing a teaching activity for a graduate seminar in persuasion, Lane and I wrote it as an article and submitted it to Communication Teacher — the journal in which the article was later published.

The abstract is provided here, but the full article is available online. Feel free to contact me for a free download link.


“Targeting an Audience: A Discussion of Relevant Variables and a Test of Priming” is a teaching activity created to further students’ knowledge of persuasive message reception and priming—a persuasion tactic often used in advertising by brands. Explanations of intended courses, learning objectives, and rationale are provided to help instructors understand why this activity may be impactful in their classrooms. Additionally, advice for facilitating the activity, including information on the materials, preparation, and a breakdown of the activity’s two parts, is provided as a guide for instructors to add this activity to their lesson plan. This activity was written for submission after successful facilitation in a graduate-level communication course, although applications extend beyond this level. An appraisal of the activity suggests limitations and variations of the activity. Originally developed as part of an instructional discussion for a graduate seminar in persuasion, “Targeting an Audience: A Discussion of Relevant Variables and a Test of Priming” is presented in this manuscript as an engaging activity to introduce any college-level student to the ideas of persuasive message reception and priming. Myers et al. (A curricular view of communication course offerings of national communication association department members. Communication Education, 70(4), 421434, 2021) found persuasion to be the second most commonly offered course among National Communication Association department members, which may suggest that materials and activities to teach persuasion, such as presented in this manuscript, are in high demand.