Motivated reasoning has been documented as an on-going problem which affects voter reception of political advertising. However, little work has examined strategies for overcoming motivated reasoning in the face of counter-attitudinal political advertising. This dissertation uses two original experiments to both identify the psychological underpinnings of directionally motivated reasoning and test political advertising strategies for overcoming motivated reasoning. The results demonstrate the preponderance of motivated reasoning in the political advertising sphere, but suggest that directing a more affirmatory message toward out-party voters may help reduce the likelihood that out-party voters engage in motivated reasoning. Implications for theory and practitioners are discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. March 2016. Major: Mass Communication. Advisors: Heather LaMarre, Joanne Miller. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 221 pages.
Blocking the Bias: Testing the effectiveness of affirmatory messaging at reducing directionally motivated reasoning.
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