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How Political Actors Use Your Emotions To Their Advantage

Understanding what makes people consume some bits of information and not others is important because information determines attitudes.

Although large gaps in citizen knowledge are well known, small amounts of the right kind of information can change preferences over issues or the considerations people rely on to evaluate candidates.

So how can you make someone more willing to seek out information? Make them angry when they’re alone.

I find anger to elicit information seeking, but only when evoked alone.

…These studies shows that politicians seeking to entice viewership can double or even triple their success rate with subtle changes that evoke different emotions. Given what we know about how information can change political attitudes, it seems likely that such strategies have remarkable potential to influence opinions and engagement. More broadly, the results herein may help us understand not only clicks on a webpage, but also engagement in other arenas. Anger might well be effective in enticing citizens to scan headlines, subscribe to blogs, read flyers, and open direct mail, for instance

Source: http://cess.nyu.edu/conferences/3-2011/papers/1.pdf