Persuasive communication

Centre for Language Studies | Faculty of Arts | Radboud University Nijmegen

In 1985, Rob graduated in Spaanse Taal- en Letterkunde (Spanish Linguistics and Literature) at the Faculty of Arts at Radboud University Nijmegen with a study of the medieval manuscripts and a critical edition of Los Proverbios del Marqués de Santillana (1437).

His interest in persuasive communication has its roots in the department of Business Communication Studies; he focussed on communicative competence, intercultural communication, speech act and politeness theories, and Interlanguage Pragmatics, resulting in a PhD (1997) on request strategies in Spanish and Dutch, a cross-cultural analysis from an intercultural perspective.


Rob’s interest in persuasive communication with a focus on the interaction between message design characteristics and receiver responses led him to doing research in the field of Document Design, e.g. the design of instructive documents and the effects of text features and reader characteristics on performance and appreciation.

From 2006 onwards, he extended his research activities to the field of the persuasiveness of text (verbal anchoring) and visuals in advertising: in several publications he investigated the effects of visual metaphors on reader’s cognitive elaboration, comprehension and attitude towards advertisements and advertised products. In some of these research projects, there is a special interest in the possible effects of culture and cross-cultural variability on consumer responses when advertisements with visual metaphors are evaluated.

Rob’s latest research interests are in the field of persuasive technologies and online persuasive communication via social media. In some recent master theses, he directed graduate students’ research into e.g. the effects of the use of Twitter and Facebook in crisis communication, the effects of different Twitter message types in recruitment strategies, and the effects of different types of Twitter messages on the reputation of organisations.

See e.g. Als een deskundige ‘t zegt… effecten van negatieve word-of-mouth tweets →


Persuasion, document design, advertising, metaphor, intercultural communication, non-nativeness, social media

Key publications

Van Mulken, Margot en Le Pair, Rob (2012). Appreciation and interpretation of visual metaphors in advertising across three European countries. In MacArthur, Fiona, José Luis Oncins-Martínez, Manuel Sánchez-García and Ana María Piquer-Píriz (eds.), Metaphor in Use. Context, culture, and communication, chapter 8, pp. 177-193. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Hendriks, B., Van Meurs, F., Korzilius, H., Le Pair, R., & Le Blanc-Damen, S. (2012). Style Congruency and Persuasion: A Cross-Cultural Study Into the Influence of Differences in Style Dimensions on the Persuasiveness of Business Newsletters in Great Britain and the Netherlands. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 55(2), 122-141.

Van Mulken, M., Le Pair, R. & Forceville, Ch. (2010). The impact of perceived complexity, deviation and comprehension on the appreciation of visual metaphor in advertising across three European countries. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 3418-3430.

Le Pair, R., & Van Mulken, M. (2010). Effects of verbal anchoring in visual metaphors on perceived complexity and appreciation. In A.V. Prokhorov (Ed.), Topical Issues of Advertising: Theory and Practice. Vol II, pp. 26-36. Tambov: TSU.

Le Pair, R., & Van Mulken, M. (2008). Perceived Complexity and Appreciation of Visual Metaphors by Consumers with Different Cultural Backgrounds. In F. Costa Pereira, J. Veríssimo & P. Neijens (Eds.), New Trends in Advertising Research, (pp. 279-290). Lisbon: Sílabo.

Le Pair, R., & Van Mulken, M. (2007). Cross-cultural variability in consumer responses to visual metaphors in advertising. In ICORIA 2007 Papers, 6th International Conference on Research in Advertising, Lisbon, 29-30 June, 2007. ISBN 972-97218.

Le Pair, R., Jansen, C., Korzilius, H., Van Gerdingen, J., De Graaf, S., & Visser, R. (2006). Information Mapping: Effects of Text Features and Reader Characteristics on Performance and Appreciation. Information Design Journal 15(1), 69-83.

Le Pair, R. (2005). Politeness in the Netherlands: indirect requests. In L. Hickey & M. Stewart (Eds.), Politeness in Europe, (pp.66-81). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Le Pair, R., Crijns, R. & Hoeken, H. (2000). Het belang van cultuurverschillen voor het ontwerp van persuasieve teksten. Tijdschrift voor Taalbeheersing, 22(4), 358-372.