It is common knowledge that televised political ads are meant to appeal to voters' emotions, yet little is known about how or if these tactics actually work. Ted Brader's innovative book is the first scientific study to examine the effects that these emotional appeals in political advertising have on voter decision-making. At the heart of this book are ingenious experiments, conducted by Brader during an election, with truly eye-opening results that upset conventional wisdom. They show, for example, that simply changing the music or imagery of ads while retaining the same text provokes completely different responses. He reveals that politically informed citizens are more easily manipulated by emotional appeals than less-involved citizens and that positive "enthusiasm ads" are in fact more polarizing than negative "fear ads." Black-and-white video images are ten times more likely to signal an appeal to fear or anger than one to enthusiasm or pride, and the emotional appeal triumphs over the logical appeal in nearly three-quarters of all political ads. Brader backs up these surprising findings with an unprecedented survey of emotional appeals in contemporary political campaigns. Politicians do set out to campaign for the hearts and minds of voters, and, for better or for worse, it is primarily through hearts that minds are won. "Campaigning for Hearts and Minds" will be indispensable for anyone wishing to understand how American politics is influenced by advertising today.
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"A terrific book. Brader takes contemporary political psychology to campaign ads and discovers something novel in the process. Emotions matter - but not in the ways we commonly suppose. Brader's book breaks our reliance on that easy understanding and forces us to think more consciously about how images, emotions, cognitions, and political choices are bound together." - Michael MacKuen, coauthor of Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment"
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Ted Brader is assistant professor of political science and faculty associate at the Center for Political Studies of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.