Navigation Links
Undecided Voters Not So Undecided After All
Date:8/21/2008

Study finds unconscious preferences can predict final outcome

THURSDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The great swath of undecided voters who typically decide elections might not be so undecided after all.

A new study suggests that individuals have unconscious preferences that can more accurately predict the final vote than standard measures.

A test to measure unconscious associations may give pollsters a heads-up on election outcomes.

"Typically, it's the undecided voter that gives politicians a hard time. It's the undecided voters that you need to get," said senior study author Bertram Gawronski, Canada Research Chair on Social Psychology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. "This study shows that by using these measures, there is some potential for improving the prediction of election outcomes."

The paper was published in the Aug. 22 issue of Science.

Conventional wisdom dictates that people make choices based on conscious, informed thought and careful weighing of information.

Recent research suggests this might not be the case, and, in fact, there may be ways to measure these unconscious associations.

"The inspiration for this study came from the development of a particular class of measures that enables us to assess these automatic mental associations," Gawronski explained. "Over the past couple of years, a lot of research has shown that these measures are able to predict behaviors that psychologists have had a hard time predicting with standard methodology or self-report."

The authors of the study, based both at the University of Western Ontario in Canada and at the University of Padova in Italy, quizzed 129 residents of Vicenza, Italy, about their attitudes regarding the planned enlargement of a U.S. military base in that city.

The questions were designed to assess both conscious beliefs as well as unconscious associations via the "implicit association test." In the latter case, for example, citizens were asked to categorize pictures of the U.S. military base and positive and negative words as quickly as possible.

The exercises were repeated one week apart.

Participants who initially claimed they were undecided ended up making decisions based on their unconscious associations.

But for those who started out with definite opinions, their automatic associations became more consistent over time. This suggests that conscious beliefs might actually be working on unconscious associations.

The research may also have specific implications for the looming U.S. presidential elections.

"This type of measure in the domain of prejudice and stereotyping has found that, in North America, there is a large proportion of individuals with relatively negative views of African-Americans. Even people who hold very strong egalitarian opinions or beliefs sometimes show negative associations," Gawronski said. "This can influence their voting behavior, particularly for undecided voters, in a way that they may not be aware of."

Gawronski pointed to case of black candidate Tom Bradley, who unsuccessfully ran for governor of California in both 1982 and 1986. Bradley lost by a slim margin, even though earlier polls had given him a clear advantage, giving rise to the term the "Bradley Effect."

"We know that there is still a strong prevalence of automatic negative associations regarding African-Americans, and this may have distorted people's perception of the political process, public debates, etc.," Gawronski said. "They've made up their mind who they're going to vote for, even though they're undecided when the polls are taken. This could happen again in the U.S. . . . It may be the case that the big advance that Obama has at this point may completely shift in the election."

More information

Find out more about how the brain works at Harvard's Whole Brain Atlas.



SOURCES: Bertram Gawronski, Ph.D., Canada Research Chair on Social Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; Aug. 22, 2008, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Democrat Mike Turner Backs Single-Payer Healthcare; Opponent Feder Undecided
2. Voters Deserve to Know: Would Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Thompson Stand with Bush and Veto Childrens Health Care?
3. Big Tobaccos Latest Dirty Trick: Deceiving Oregon Voters
4. Survey of Iowa Voters Reveals Surprising Results and Attitudes Toward Americas Health Care Crisis
5. Poll Shows Voters Want Long Term Care Included in Presidential Candidates Healthcare Proposals, Released at 2007 National Long Term Care Symposium
6. New Poll Finds Nearly Seven in 10 New Jersey Voters Support Smoke-Free Casinos
7. Big Tobacco Spends Record $12 Million to Deceive Oregon Voters
8. Congress Proclaims Support for Long Term Care Awareness Week; Recent Poll Shows Voters Want Long Term Care Included in Presidential Candidates Healthcare Proposals
9. Health Care Tops Issues Voters in Early Primary States Want 2008 Presidential Candidates to Address
10. Six in 10 Voters Support Raising Taxes to Fight Breast Cancer
11. 75 Percent of Virginia Voters Support Smoke-Free Workplaces
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Undecided Voters Not So Undecided After All
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... Groth Family Insurance, a ... Richland, is initiating a charity drive to support the family of Cindy Hendrickson, ... collision. , On October 29th of this year, Cindy Hendrickson swerved to ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... Sober College, the ... the grand opening of the Sober College Robert Pfeifer Memorial Learning Center at ... 2-3, and was attended by an overwhelming amount of alumni, family, colleagues and ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... ... "I had a terrible time trying to get my grandson to use his ... had a more child-friendly design, then children would be more likely to look forward ... avoid the need to deliver medication via a nebulizer mask. The design will not ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Russ ... announced the first national #QuackGivesBack campaign which supported local breast cancer organizations during ... franchise-wide Quack Gives Back initiative, and we’re very pleased with the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... With the increasing demand for ... In Your Mouth?” (WIYM) campaign to inform dentists and patients about the safety issues ... implant and prosthetic market in the U.S. is projected to reach $6.4 billion in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... 2016  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) has been recognized by ... Workplaces National Standard. To learn more about Diplomat,s ... ... ... administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a research firm specializing in organizational health ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Connecticut , 8 de dezembro de 2016  A Mederi Therapeutics ... terapia Stretta, um tratamento não cirúrgico para a doença do refluxo gastroesofágico (DRGE). ... ... Live Stretta procedure performed and ... of Endoscopy at Wuhan Union Hospital ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Pa. , Dec. 8, 2016  A new ... reports that the use of opioid therapy to treat ... increase the likelihood of more harmful consequences, including death. ... , M.D., and Zankhana Mehta , M.D., authored ... research on chronic opioid therapy. The study was published ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: