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Issue 1/2007

Okładka trzeciego numeru czasopisma Psychologia Społeczna

 

The effect of ambiguity of political messages on the formation of 
electoral preferences

Wojciech Cwalina
Warsaw School of Social Psychology
Paweł Koniak
Warsaw School of Social Psychology
     
Abstract
Two experiments investigated effects of political messages' ambiguity on the formation of electoral preferences. The first was focused on a situation wherein positive, negative and semantic ambiguity appeal strategies were used in a presented message. Results partially confirmed hypotheses and indicated that an ambiguous message isn't very effective in the formation of desired electoral preferences. In the second experiment, messages consistent or inconsistent with Ss' views and messages with ambiguous argumentation were analyzed. Results suggest that a strategy of ambiguity applied by politicians may be beneficial if the point is to avoid recipients' objections. But the consequences of ambiguity for assessments of politicians' credibility and voter intentions are negative. Furthermore, cause and effect processes leading to the formation of electoral support and connected with processing of information from political messages and from images are clearly different when a message is unambiguous and when a message is ambiguous.

Key words: message ambiguity; voting intention; social cognition; issue voting; politician image; negative political campaign; negativity effect

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