Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

People tend to exaggerate influence of political ads on others

Date:
August 1, 2011
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
The push for campaign finance reform may be driven by a tendency to overestimate the power of political messages to influence other people's opinions, according to researchers.

The push for campaign finance reform may be driven by a tendency to overestimate the power of political messages to influence other people's opinions, according to researchers.

In an experiment, people who viewed negative political advertising said the advertisements had little effect on their own opinions, but believed the ads would have a greater influence on others, said Fuyuan Shen, associate professor, communications, Penn State.

"People have a tendency to overestimate the effect media messages have on others," Shen said. "The perception is that negative messages, like television violence and pornography, in mass media affect others more."

Shen added that when the message is socially desirable, such as donating money, the perception is reversed; people think the message has more of an effect on themselves than on others.

"There is a gap in perception," he said.

The exaggerated perception of media power may prompt people to believe that media censorship and campaign finance reform are necessary to limit media influence, according to Shen.

"People have a tendency to overestimate the media's impact, especially when we don't necessarily like the message," said Shen. "And this belief could have larger behavioral implications on censorship and the regulation of media content."

In the experiment, the researchers, who reported their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Political Marketing, showed 129 students negative television advertisements created by MoveOnPac.org for the 2004 presidential election. The ads focused either on then-President George W. Bush's character or on political issues, such as the Iraq war and the environment. About 45 percent of the participants identified themselves as Bush supporters and 55 percent considered themselves opponents of the president.

Both supporters and opponents indicated that the effect of the ads on others was significantly greater than their own reaction to the ads, said Shen, who worked with Frank E. Dardis, associate professor, communications, Penn State, and Heidi Hatfield Edwards, associate professor, communication, Florida Institute of Technology.

The experiment also indicated that watching more negative ads increased the effect. People who watched from three to five ads perceived that the influence of the advertisements was greater on others compared to people who just viewed one ad.

"The more ads you see, the more you believe that those ads are affecting people," said Shen.

The researchers tried to create the most natural conditions for the experiment as possible, Shen said. The experiment featured actual political advertisements and was conducted a few weeks before the election when attention on the election was at its height.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "People tend to exaggerate influence of political ads on others." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801111745.htm>.
Penn State. (2011, August 1). People tend to exaggerate influence of political ads on others. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801111745.htm
Penn State. "People tend to exaggerate influence of political ads on others." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110801111745.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
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