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.
Analysis of millions of audio files has led one US company to claim that their software can predict how a person’s voice will make a listener feel
Bird flu outbreak now spreading through Midwest poultry could head east with fall migration
A little MRI video seems to settle the decades-old debate about that loud pop of the joints: It's all about bubbles. But imagine an air bag inflating, not the bursting of a balloon.
People who took acetaminophen responded less strongly to happy or sad photos in a small study. It's one of several studies suggesting that there's an overlap with pain and other feelings.
Teachers can become frustrated when students don't seem to try hard when it comes to schoolwork. There's a surprising explanation of why some students might not be putting their best effort forward.
Stress from serious events in first 14 years of life may be risk factor and one trigger for disease, finds Swedish study of 10,000 families
Legislators advance bill to tighten immunisation laws in the face of protest from small band of activists who believe parents should be allowed to opt out
To understand the appeal of extremist ideologies we need to look beyond the usual explanations, says a professor of epidemiology
It's not for the faint hearted but it works in mice. When enough hair is plucked out, an immune signal sent to nearby hair follicles triggers extra hair to grow back
A strange mix of living well and taking risks adds one more puzzle to the narcissistic personality