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Persuasion and campaigns. Administrative research Lazarsfeld distinguished between critical and administrative research by noting that administrative.

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Presentation on theme: "Persuasion and campaigns. Administrative research Lazarsfeld distinguished between critical and administrative research by noting that administrative."— Presentation transcript:

1 Persuasion and campaigns

2 Administrative research Lazarsfeld distinguished between critical and administrative research by noting that administrative research: Is carried out in the interest of powerful organizations or government Takes the existing media system for granted Aims to adjust the behavior of the audience to the interests of the study

3 Persuasion Persuasion studies are really propaganda research that tends to take an effects approach –Persuasion really could be considered propaganda –Varies from single exposure individual effects studies to time-based campaign studies of population change

4 Development of persuasion studies Classic work of Hovland Experiments on Mass Communication (1949) Communication and Persuasion (1953) Yale School of communication research “Search for the magic keys”

5 WWII American Soldier studies Part of a large-scale social science investigation of American soldiers recruited or drafted for service in WWII This part especially interested in the effects of films developed to prepare soldiers for military duty –Why We Fight Directed by Frank Capra –Documentary explanation of the buildup to, and early years of the war

6 Goals of Why We Fight Series: Prelude to War, The Nazis Strike, Divide and Conquer, The Battle of Britain

7 Films were intended to foster: A firm belief in the right of the cause for which we fight A realization that we are up against a tough job A determined confidence in our own ability and the abilities of our comrades and leaders to do the job that must be done A feeling of confidence, insofar as possible under the circumstance, in the integrity and fighting ability of our Allies A resentment, based on knowledge of the facts, against our enemies who have made it necessary to fight A belief that through military victory, the political achievement of a better world order is possible

8 Battle of Britain Men in two camps--some exposed to film, some not –2100 in one camp (before/after control group) –900 in another camp (before/after control group) –1200 (after-only control group) –Sampling by company units Units matched on several demographic variables

9 Battle of Britain Before and after questionnaires slightly different –Tried to distract men from wondering why answering twice by writing “revised” on questionnaire One week between exposure and after measure Anonymity assured

10 Results Significant impact on factual knowledge Ex. Why weren’t the Germans “successful at bombing British planes on the ground”? Ans. “because the British kept their planes scattered at the edge of the field” Experimental group: 78% correct Control group: 21% correct

11 Results Opinions and interpretations –Effects not as great –“the heavy bombing attacks on Britain were an attempt by the Nazis to...” –Answer: “invade and conquer England” Experimental group: 58% Control group: 43%

12 Results Effect on general attitudes was slight “Do you feel that the British are doing all they can to help win the war?” –Experimental group 7% greater than control –In many such cases, 2-3% positive difference was found Not much evidence of positive effect

13 Results Strengthening the overall morale and motivation of viewers Ineffective –Question concerning whether trainees would prefer military duty in the U.S. or overseas –Experimental 41% –Control 38%

14 Results Unconditional surrender by Nazis is important war aim –Experimental group 62% –Control group 60%

15 Results 9 weeks after exposure –Factual material forgotten Retained only about 50% of factual items that 1-week groups remembered –On 1/3 of opinion issues, long-term group showed less change –However, on more than half of the fifteen issues under study, the long term group showed greater change than the short-term group “Sleeper effect”

16 One-sided v. two-sided argument Radio presentation saying war would be lengthy Presented either as one-sided argument or with additional 4 minutes discussing view that it would be short Before/after with control group

17 Results One-sided argument more effective with soldiers who: –Initially supportive of the idea that it would be a lengthy war –Had not completed high school Two-sided arguments more effective with those who initially felt the war would be short and/or had a high school degree or greater education

18 Results: Learning from films

19 Hovland et al. Set up Yale school research on persuasion Study the effect of: –Source characteristics –Message characteristics –Order of presentation –Psychological characteristics of audience

20 Source characteristics Credibility –Topic: Atomic submarines Sources: J. Robert Oppenheimer/Pravda –Topic: Future of Movie Theaters Sources: Fortune magazine/A woman movie gossip columnist –Greater persuasion with more credible source However, after 4 weeks difference had disappeared

21 Content Fear appeals –Greater fear, greater effect on interest, tension –Lesser fear, greater effect on intension to change behavior –Thought to invoke some sort of interference Drawing an explicit conclusion –Significantly greater effect if communicator drew an explicit conclusion

22 Message presentation One-sided and two-sided presentations that USSR would not soon be able to develop a nuclear bomb were equally effective However, when exposed to opposing view, those that had earlier been presented with two-sided version retained new opinion more than one-sided audience

23 Audience factors Scouts who valued group membership highly were least influenced by speaker who criticized wood craft learning

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