Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Visual imagery technique boosts voting

23.10.2006
Registered voters who used a simple visual imagery technique the evening before the 2004 election were significantly more likely to vote the next day, a new study found.

It was all a matter of the visual perspective people took when they imagined themselves voting.

Researchers asked some Ohio college students to picture themselves voting the next day from a third-person perspective – as if they were observers viewing their own actions. Others were told to picture themselves voting in a first-person perspective, through their own eyes.

A full 90 percent of those who pictured themselves voting from a third-person visual perspective reported later that they did indeed vote, compared to only 72 percent who took the first-person viewpoint.

“When participants saw themselves as others would, they were more motivated to actually get out and vote,” said Lisa Libby, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

“They saw themselves as more likely to vote and that translated into action.

“The strength of the results were particularly noteworthy given that the experiment was conducted in Ohio during the 2004 election, when there were unprecedented efforts to mobilize voter turnout in a crucial swing state,” she said.

Libby conducted the study with Eric Shaeffer and Jonathan Slemmer from Ohio State and Richard Eibach, assistant professor of psychology at Williams College.

Their results will appear in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science.

The study involved 146 Ohio State students, all of whom were registered voters.

On the evening of Nov. 1, 2004 those who agreed to participate responded to an online questionnaire. They were told to picture themselves voting in the next day's presidential election, some using a first-person and some using a third-person visual perspective.

They were then asked a series of questions designed to assess their self-perceptions as voters. For example, they were asked how personally important it was to vote in the next day's election, how much their vote would make a difference, and how much they would regret if they did not vote and their candidate lost.

They were also asked how likely it was they would vote if they faced several potential deterrents, such as a 20-minute wait in line to vote.

Several weeks later, they responded to an online survey which asked if they had voted.

Libby said she was surprised by just how much the difference in perspectives affected voter turnout among this sample. “It was a large effect, especially given all the other factors going on in the 2004 election in Ohio,” she said.

The third-person voting boost was similar among those who said they supported George Bush and those who said they supported John Kerry.

The reason visual perspective is so important has to do with how people think of their own actions versus how they view the actions of others, Libby said.

People tend to think of their own actions in terms of the situation, and believe they are adaptable depending on circumstances. For instance, a person may say he didn't vote because he was very busy at that time, or couldn't find a ride to the polling site.

But when they view the actions of others, people tend to explain behavior in terms of a person's personality and character.

“When we think of others, we think of them having these traits that are constant across situations,” Libby said.

For example, a person may believe someone else didn't vote because he or she is lazy, or isn't interested in politics.

So, in this study, when people pictured themselves voting in the third-person, they judged themselves as they thought others would.

“By taking a third-person visual perspective, they saw themselves as the kind of a person who would overcome obstacles and vote in this election,” Libby said. “And that translated into them actually going to the polls.”

Libby has done several studies examining how using the third-person visual perspective can help people achieve goals, and has plans to continue this line of research.

“We're interested in the challenge people face in following through on their good intentions,” she said. “Many people say they want to exercise more, or vote, or do other things they know are good, but have a problem following through.

“Picturing yourself in the third-person, from an outsider's perspective, can help people follow through on their goals.”

Lisa Libby | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>