Scholars dating back to Aristotle have argued that metaphors are persuasive in politics; yet, little empirical research exists to validate these assertions. In this dissertation, I explore how elites use metaphors to communicate information to citizens, and what impact these messages have on their understanding and evaluation of political issues. I investigate how metaphors work, which ones are being used in real policy debates, and how they influence people's perceptions of message quality and judgments about political issues. To this end, I conduct several experiments, as well as a content analysis, to test and explore metaphor-induced persuasion. Ultimately, this dissertation is about how individuals make sense of politics, and how elites can use what we know about human cognition to convey their policies to the mass public.
First, I lay out a theory of policy metaphors and propose a number of hypotheses derived from the literature in psychology and political science (Chapter 2). Second, I discuss the results from a content analysis of actual policy speeches to identify how party leaders communicate with members of the American public (Chapter 3). Third, I present the results from three experimental studies designed to flesh out the persuasive effects of metaphors, as well as test potential mediators and moderators of metaphor-induced attitude change (Chapter 4). Fourth, I introduce a novel experiment to examine the automatic, spontaneous evaluative implications of policy metaphors (Chapter 5) and then explore whether policy metaphors create semantic associations in memory (Chapter 6). Finally, I discuss the results and propose ideas for future research on policy metaphors and persuasion (Chapter 7).
|School:||State University of New York at Stony Brook|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Political science|
|Keywords:||Attitude change, Information processing, Metaphor, Persuasion, Policy metaphors|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be