How Should You Craft A Political Message?

It depends on your audience:

Three studies examined the production of political messages and their persuasive impact on recipients as a function of speaker–audience similarity. The first two studies found support for the hypothesis that political leaders (Study 1) and party activists (Study 2) formulate more abstract messages when the audience is politically similar to them than when the audience is dissimilar or heterogeneous. The third study examined the persuasive impact of message abstractness versus concreteness. We predicted and found that abstract messages are more effective in convincing an audience whose political positions are similar to the speaker’s and concrete messages are more effective in convincing an audience whose political positions differ from the speaker’s or are heterogeneous. Implications of these findings for the relation between language and social cognition are discussed.

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