Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Artful dodgers: Seeing questions can help voters detect dodges and be better informed, new study says

Date:
May 5, 2011
Source:
American Psychological Association
Summary:
How can some people respond to a question without answering the question, yet satisfy their listeners? This skill of "artful dodging" and how to better detect it are explored in a new article.

How can some people respond to a question without answering the question, yet satisfy their listeners? This skill of "artful dodging" and how to better detect it are explored in an article published by the American Psychological Association.

Related Articles


People typically judge a speaker with the goal of forming an opinion of the speaker, which can make them susceptible to dodges, according to the study published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. Limited attention capacity is another reason people fall for dodges, said the authors, citing a previous study in which people counting basketball passes failed to notice a man in a gorilla suit walking through the game.

Dodge detection greatly increased when listeners were directed to pay close attention to the relevance of speakers' answers with regard to the questions, or if the text of the correct question was visible to the listeners as the speaker responded. The ability to recognize a dodge more than doubled, from 39 percent without the text to 88 percent with the text.

"Given concerns that voters are uninformed or misinformed and the many calls for increased education of voters -- from politicians and pundits alike -- these results suggest that very simple interventions can dramatically help voters focus on the substance of politicians' answers rather than their personal style," said authors Todd Rogers, PhD, and Michael I. Norton, PhD, both of Harvard University.

The researchers conducted four different experiments with four separate groups of people totaling 1,139 men and women averaging 44 years old. In three of the studies, participants watched a video of a mock political debate and then responded to an online survey. In the fourth study, participants listened to excerpts of a recording of a mock political debate and then responded to questions.

The study results indicated that people are frequently unable to remember an initial question if a speaker answers a similar question. Moreover, listeners rated speakers who answered a similar question just as positively as those who answered the correct question. Listeners had the most negative reactions if speakers answered blatantly different questions or if they fumbled their words even while answering the correct question.

But dodges aren't always bad, the authors noted, "such as when someone asks coworkers for their opinion on a new outfit." They pointed out that while posting the text of questions can be done for televised debates, it's not practical to carry around a poster of your questions when going about everyday life. And dodge detecting can be detrimental if people are engaging in creative, wide-ranging conversations.

"Still, our results suggest that in many cases, dodges cause sought-after and relevant information to go unspoken, with little awareness and few consequences," the authors said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Todd Rogers, Michael I. Norton. The Artful Dodger: Answering the Wrong Question the Right Way. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Applied, 2011; [link]

Cite This Page:

American Psychological Association. "Artful dodgers: Seeing questions can help voters detect dodges and be better informed, new study says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505111945.htm>.
American Psychological Association. (2011, May 5). Artful dodgers: Seeing questions can help voters detect dodges and be better informed, new study says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505111945.htm
American Psychological Association. "Artful dodgers: Seeing questions can help voters detect dodges and be better informed, new study says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110505111945.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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