Why do negative political ads work, even though we can’t stand them and we know they’re paid for by people whose interests are not objective?
Well, blame the psychology of persuasion in communication.
A message never stands alone on its merit (or non-merit). An intricate system of factors such as perceived source credibility, the medium, the timing, heck — even the way the communicator’s voice sounds and how he or she looks, for example — all go into a cauldron, swirling around to produce a concoction that affects each of us differently.
Such effects can range from the straightforward: a strong message and a highly credible source are the most persuasive, to the counter-intuitively complex: a low credibility source is sometimes more persuasive than a high credibility source depending on when the source is mentioned.
So what about that “Paid for by ….” bit that, by law, must be included at the end of political ads?
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