A new BYU study finds that popular politicians’ tactics to sway voters have little success. Researchers have found that videos with political messages meant to humanize different groups of people ultimately do little to combat prejudice.
How the research was conducted
A study published in Journal of Politicssurveyed 3,498 Republicans living in the western United States. Researchers surveyed the opinions of Latino immigrants before showing them documentary scenes that realistically portrayed their lives.
BYUNews After watching the documentary clip, participants reported that they were more likely to empathize with immigrants only if they had a kinder view of them before watching the film.
Researchers found that one factor that prevents participants who are already “bad-tempered” from immigrants from feeling empathy is the feelings people have when they realize their beliefs and worldviews are wrong. This sensation has been described by researchers as a dissonance.
“Dissonance challenges our ego and most people are unwilling to pay the price to confront it. We suspected that their displeasure denied them any empathy they might otherwise have developed.
Second stage of investigation
In a second experiment that followed the first part of the study, the researchers asked 1,982 participants to view “heartwarming images of Latino people” and asked whether the photographs changed their beliefs. was verified. Half of the participants were then told their immigration was documented and the other half were told it was undocumented. Participants confirmed in writing that they “agreed to a list of statements describing the positive attributes of immigration.”
The researchers found that those who were initially more hostile to immigrants were three times more likely to exhibit dissonance after completing the study and less likely to empathize after viewing the images. did.
How These Findings Affect Politics
These findings could change the way politicians try to revitalize their bases and influence independent voters.
“Humanitarian messages have been the main approach of activists to reduce stigma around the world, including conflict resolution groups, documentaries and refugee groups,” said Gubler. Said.
If people are reluctant to change their minds through media messages because of dissonance, politicians will have to find other ways to influence voters.
“People think they are effective because they are preaching to the choir and the choir is responding appropriately,” says Gubler. Said“There is value in rallying the base, but it is different from changing the minds of the people the message was designed to target.”
https://www.deseret.com/2022/10/17/23408766/byu-study-on-political-messaging-prejudice BYU Study Finds Political Messages Doesn’t Combat Prejudice