The Psychology Behind Political Attack Ads

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During big election years, negative political ads flood our screens, but just how effective are they when it comes to influencing voters? Mark Glantz, a media studies and communication professor at St. Norbert College in De Pere, said that political ads are designed to grab your attention and trigger an emotional response from you. 

"The wording matters an awful lot, but it's just as much about the pictures and the music, and that haunting sound that they make, and the dark, distorted pictures of the candidates that we're supposed to loathe," Glantz said. "Yeah, there's a lot going on in these things."

He said negative attack ads are more influential than positive campaign ads. 

"We tend, as human beings, to remember negative things more than we remember positive things, and that's one of the reasons that campaigns want to run so many negative ads," Glantz explained.
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