Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Persuading Novice Voters With Abstract Or Concrete Messages: Timing Is Everything

Date:
October 16, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Political commentators and opinion page writers criticized Barack Obama for his lack of specifics, yet voters continued to respond to his message. Obama's reliance on lofty rhetoric has succeeded thus far, and in a study forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research scientists provide research evidence for why this strategy works.

When Barack Obama began his Presidential campaign, his rhetoric emphasized abstract notions of hope, change, and judgment. In contrast, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and other candidates frequently presented detailed, concrete proposals on a host of topics ranging from foreign policy issues such as the Iraq War to domestic issues such as the economy and health care reform.

Political commentators and opinion page writers criticized Obama for his lack of specifics, yet voters continued to respond to his message. Obama's reliance on lofty rhetoric has succeeded thus far, and in a study forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research, Hakkyun Kim (Concordia University), Akshay Rao (University of Minnesota), and Angela Lee (Northwestern University) provide research evidence for why this strategy works.

The researchers used the following analogy to make their point. Imagine taking a vacation to Cancun sometime in the future. If the vacation is six months away, the traveler is probably thinking about beaches, sunsets, and other abstract information. On the other hand, if the vacation begins the following week, the traveler is thinking about taxi cabs, boarding passes, and specific, concrete concerns.

In similar fashion, a voter facing a choice in the distant future is less interested in particular plans and policies than in broad, abstract themes. It is only as the election gets closer do voters start paying attention to details of the candidate's positions on issues of importance to them. The study authors demonstrate this effect in a series of studies and further observe that it is relatively uninformed voters who are subject to this effect. That is, while informed voters are not affected by abstract or concrete information nor how distant the election is, political novices tend to be more persuaded by abstract messages when the choice is far in the future, and by concrete messages when the choice is in the near future.

The researchers observe that, while their experiments focused on political contexts, the underlying argument applies equally well to many consumption contexts such as deciding which college to attend, which automobile to purchase when one graduates from college, or where to live when one retires.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kim et al. It's Time to Vote: The Effect of Matching Message Orientation and Temporal Frame on Political Persuasion. Journal of Consumer Research, April 2009: 081014124539006 DOI: 10.1086/593700

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Persuading Novice Voters With Abstract Or Concrete Messages: Timing Is Everything." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081016124337.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, October 16). Persuading Novice Voters With Abstract Or Concrete Messages: Timing Is Everything. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081016124337.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Persuading Novice Voters With Abstract Or Concrete Messages: Timing Is Everything." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081016124337.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

What Self-Made Women Need to Know Financially Before Getting Hitched

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) Halle Berry was recently ordered to pay her ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry $16,000 a month in child support by a California judge for their daughter Nahla. As women make strides in the workforce, they are increasingly left holding the bag when relationships end regardless of marital status. 'What Monied Women Need to Know Before Getting Married or Cohabitating' discusses information such as debt incurred during the marriage is both spouse's responsibility at divorce, whether after ten years of marriage spouses are entitled to half of everything and why property acquired within the marriage is fair game without a pre-nup. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins