News Stories

Politically Negative

Once the presidential candidates are finally chosen, we're all bracing ourselves for the negative TV advertising that we hate so much. Why do political parties place these ads? The reason is simple: they work.

With one study predicting an unprecedented $4.5 billion expected for political advertising during this next election cycle, American voters should get ready to feel uncomfortable and remember a lot of mudslinging sentiments?even if they?re filled with lies (as they often are). Advertising expert Samuel Bradley says, "The question was simple?are negative political ads unpleasant enough to engage a person?s emotional circuitry? The data show that negative ads do indeed engage emotional circuits involved in helping humans avoid unpleasantness." In other words, they WORK?in order to avoid the unpleasantness, we will avoid the candidate.

Bradley found that negative political advertising makes the body want to turn away physically, but the mind remembers negative messages indiscriminately and sometimes incorrectly. He says, "This is the very beginning of the fight-or-flight response," Bradley says. "The body is [telling us], 'This is bad.' So the?body starts preparing to move away."

But since viewing the ads isn't a life-or-death situation, the brain has time to store the messages. Sometimes, the brain can even make up the negative message it only thought it saw, which is why you hear so much strangely wrong information during the political season.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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