Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Polipsych 101

At the UW one of the required courses for communications/editorial journalism majors was called Propaganda 101. It was a course in the psychology behind politics, with an emphasis on how political campaigns are communicated to the masses. The course was taught by a man who, in a previous career, moderated one of the US Presidential debates**. One thing he said which applies to last night's debate is this:

People polled after a debate will overwhelmingly say the person they went into the debate favoring is the person they favored after the debate.

He added that idiosyncrasies which the viewer attributed to candidates before the debate were magnified in the eyes of the viewer during the debate, whether they were (objectively) displayed by the candidate or not. The prime example of this is most viewers said Nixon, who had a rep for a major 5 o'clock shadow, looked like he needed a shave, despite having shaved just before the debate and having worn makeup.

I am amused by the pundits and callers to the radio talk shows demonstrating this in spades. I am even more amused to find myself doing it.

**Prof. Bill Shadel, who died at the age of 96 in 2005 in Renton. My warped memory at first came up with another senior professor's name, Henry Ladd Smith, but I see that was probably because another debate moderator was Howard K. Smith.

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