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ERIC Number: ED531939
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 262
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-8035-8
Seeing Is Believing: The Strategy behind Campaign Imagery and Its Impact on Voters
Swigger, Nathaniel
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
As television ads have become the primary tool of communication in American campaigns, research on campaign effects has focused more and more attention on how these ads influence the electorate. Little attention has been paid, however, to the visual content of these ads. Despite a format that delivers an enormous quantity of visual information, most research has focused only on the words spoken during the ad and the little research done on campaign images has focused only on emotional effects. But can voters learn something with the sound turned off? Do voters use campaign images to make inferences about a candidate's issue positions and ideology? I use a multi-method approach to examine how voters use the information contained in campaign imagery to learn about the candidate. While most campaign strategists focus on voters' social identities when designing the look of campaign ads, I find little evidence that viewers respond to campaign images based on identity congruence. Instead, people use the images shown in an ad to make substantive inferences about the candidate, and they incorporate those inferences into their overall evaluation of the candidate in the same way that they would use an explicit verbal statement. Because of the power of images within ads and their relatively low cost (practically and strategically), political candidates can realize enormous benefits by designing campaign images that appeal to voters' policy preferences. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A