Friday, April 30, 2010

Voters Hear What they Want to Hear!

People interpret the same election message in different ways, according to their personal political views:

It is possible for two well informed groups of people faced with the same evidence to reach completely different conclusions about what should be done.
Martin McKee and David Stuckler, British Medical Journal

In an American study, three groups who described themselves as Democrats, Republicans or Independents were randomly given four versions of a news story about diabetes. The stories were the same apart from how they described the causes of diabetes—one said nothing while the other three alluded to individual lifestyle choices and social determinants such as economic status.

Democrats and Independents were likely to agree with the social determinants explanation but it had no effect on the Republicans. Democrats were more likely than the Republicans to support action to tackle diabetes, such as restrictions on junk food.

In a study on brain activity in Democrat and Republican research participants exposed to contradicting messages from both parties, those registered as Republicans identified the contradictions voiced by Democrat politicians, but saw little contradiction in statements by Republicans, and vice versa:

Politicians are often criticized for being all things to all people and for making promises that they then fail to keep. However the problem may be less what the politicians are actually saying but rather how their words are heard and interpreted.

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