ERIC Number: ED386751
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995
Satire as a Reinforcer of Attitudes.
Gruner, Charles R.
Literati differ markedly on whether satire is persuasive. Accordingly, a study tested whether partisans of a political candidate would fail to perceive the thesis of satire ridiculing their candidate; further, it tested whether they would perceive the thesis of satire ridiculing an opposing candidate. Subjects, students at the University of Georgia, were questioned about their sex, class, and presidential preference in the McGovern-Nixon race. Based on their response to the latter question, they were given to read either a satirical piece on Nixon or a satirical piece on McGovern. They were then asked to choose from a list of statements, each summarizing what might be the writer's thesis. Finally, they were asked to rate the piece's "fairness" and "funniness." Results showed that Nixon partisans were significantly better able (or willing) to assess the thesis of the anti-McGovern column than they were the anti-Nixon column; the same rule held for McGovern partisans. Further, results showed that a piece's fairness or funniness was related only when rated by antagonists. In other words, enjoyment of satire ridiculing the opposing candidate was partly a function of its perceived fairness, but enjoyment of satire ridiculing the partisan's own candidate was independent of its perceived fairness. The study lends support to the idea that satire can operate as a reinforcement of the partisan's views. (Contains a table of data and 17 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revised version of a study first undertaken in 1972.