Negatively framed political attitudes ("I don't like Obama") are stronger than positively framed attitudes ("I like Romney"), and this effect is strengthened when people think more deeply about the issues involved.
That is the finding of a paper published in the latest issue of the British Journal of Social Psychologyby George Bizer, a psychology professor at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.
Bizer and his co-authors Iris Žeželj (University of Belgrade) and Jamie Luguri (Yale University) presented participants with information about two fictional (though ostensibly real) candidates – one conservative, one liberal – for a position on a government board.
After reading about the two candidates, some participants were asked if they 'supported' or 'opposed' the liberal candidate and some were asked if they 'supported' or 'opposed' the conservative. When the candidates were vying for a local government board, participants who were led to frame their opinions negatively – regardless of their underlying preference – expressed more certainty about their attitudes than did participants who were led frame their opinions positively. When the candidates were vying for a distant government board, the effect did not emerge.
Follow-up experiments replicated these findings: Experiment 2 showed that opposers were more certain than supporters, but only when the participants were able to think carefully about the candidates, while Experiment 3 showed that the effect generalized to perceived importance.
Dr Bizer says: "Our prior research showed that framing an opinion in terms of opposition yields stronger attitudes than does framing it in terms of support.
The most interesting point from our latest research is that this effect is actually stronger when people process the messages more deeply – when they are motivated and have been able to think about the issue. But when people are not motivated and able, the effect goes away. So, perhaps counter-intuitively, the people who care the most about the issues or candidates seem more likely to be affected by the bias."
Union College: http://www.union.edu
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Findings published in The Lancet show chance of heart attack drops by 48% when people most at risk take cholesterol-lowering medications
Paranoid fears are common and have a variety of causes but new research shows specific issue cognitive behaviour therapy can bring significant benefits
Popular belief has it that human ‘sex pheromones’ exist and are well-established by the scientific community. But all is not as it seems, as Tristram Wyatt explains
Toward the end of World War II, the Nazis blocked all food and fuel supplies to the Netherlands, leading to famine. Many babies born during this famine suffered long-term effects, including a higher incidence of a variety of conditions such as heart disease, obesity, glucose intolerance, and obstructed airways.
Your girlfriend is right. Adults can expect to get flu only twice every 10 years, suggests an analysis of the antibodies in people's blood
Drinking a few cups of coffee a day may help people avoid clogged arteries - a known risk factor for heart disease - South Korean researchers believe.
Researchers in China produce a herd of genetically engineered cows that are better able to ward off bovine TB.
The first model of a zombie epidemic to use real US census data lets you choose where the plague begins and how fast it spreads
Revealing new details about the origins of AIDS, scientists said on Monday half the lineages of the main type of human immunodeficiency virus, HIV-1, originated in gorillas in Cameroon before infecting people, probably via bushmeat hunting.
Few doctors — and few patients — realize just how profoundly early abuse, neglect and other childhood traumas can damage an adult's physical health.