London, October 11 : An online report depicts human psychology as a reason why politicians get away with bending the truth.
The report published by FactCheck. org, a non-profit website based at the University of Pennsylvania, says that people’s tendency to arrange the world into categories—viz. a Republican or Democratic politician—can lead voters to reach the wrong conclusions about candidates even when they have been exposed to the truth.
In substantiation of it suggestion, the report further states that even the least-engaged voter knows that presidential hopeful John McCain is a Republican, and thus links him to attributes shared by other Republicans.
The write-up says that the voters might not recall McCain''s position on the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but they would assume that as a Republican he supported it, which he actually did.
The report also refers to experiments conducted at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the 1980s, which showed that correct information about a candidate was often forgotten or misinterpreted if it conflicted with the way voters categorised that politician.
It further states that this is what the campaigns are tapping into when they release false information, reports New Scientist magazine.
According to the report, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin''s misstatements on the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, a multimillion-dollar link between mainland Alaska and an island that is home to a small airfield and 50 inhabitants, have not attracted much attention.
Palin’s association with the Republican party could lead to the thinking that she would want to cut back on government spending, despite her backing the bridge even after Congress scrapped the project.
And, for the same reason, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama''s statements about McCain’s suggestion to privatise social security did not sound wrong, even though they were.
McCain actually proposed moderate reforms that would not affect the current generation of senior citizens, but it was considered that that plan could put the savings of millions of elderly people at the mercy of stock market fluctuations.
A research paper on this analysis, written by political scientist Nathan Collins at the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, is being considered for publication by The Journal of Politics. (ANI)
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