Vik Regularly look at both sides of the coin. Return to Book Page. The Psychology of Scarcity and the Mystique of Phantoms. Pratkanis has been a consultant for civic groups, government agencies, regulatory organisations, law enforcement, and the United States Military. Get folks to commit a little bit at a time. Unlike many sources which illuminate the problem without offering a solution, the penultimate chapter offers valuable tips.

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To my son, Tony T. Pratkanis born Chances are, he will grow up with a healthy skepticism but a regrettable cynicism about the truth of everything he reads, hears, and sees. One of us E. For example, I knew that all Germans were evil and that all Japanese were sneaky and treacherous, while all white Americans were clean-cut, honest, fair-minded, and trusting.

Perhaps you had to be eleven years old to take seriously the racial and national caricatures presented in the war movies of the early s. But in those days, most grown-ups—including my parents to whom this book is dedicated —certainly wanted to believe in the basic message of the war movies and did, in fact, have a childlike trust in the media.

They hung on every word President Roosevelt said in his famous fireside chats and never dreamed of questioning the nobility of the motives behind our national policy.

They thought and so did I that the purpose of commercial advertising was to inform the consumer. I came of age during the Watergate era when a sitting president, Richard Nixon, was forced to resign when faced with incontrovertible evidence some of it supplied by his own tape recordings of the lying, dirty tricks, and attempted cover-up that he and his cronies had perpetrated on the American people.

For me, commercials, whether for different brands of products or different brands of politicians, were entertainment designed to make someone rich or more powerful. Who cares? Business as usual. Such cynicism carries a price. And then there was the world-famous slow-speed chase, the media circus of the century—the trial of O. CNN alone employed 70 correspondents and legal experts to produce 1, hours of O. From January 1, , until the week after the verdict, television network news spent twenty-six hours and fifty minutes, or That is more time than was devoted to Bosnia thirteen hours and one minute , the bombing in Oklahoma City eight hours and fifty-three minutes , and the U.

And after the O. The trial had been a cash cow. The coverage was relatively cheap to produce, garnered great ratings, and brought in top advertising revenues.

For example, the television networks charged advertisers ten times their normal rate for thirty seconds of commercial time during the O. What would top a juicy, intriguing trial of a prominent athlete?

What would keep the advertising revenue flowing? How about an impeachment trial of a U. And that is what we watched next. An estimated In the month just before this announcement, the network morning news shows devoted segments to the Clinton sex scandal and only 56 segments to any other news about the Clinton administration. Much of this coverage bordered on the hysterical, with rumor chasing gossip chasing innuendo—much like the coverage of the O.

For example, a panelist on CNBC stated that the president had had sex with four other interns besides Lewinsky, ABC News reported that Clinton and Lewinsky had been caught in the act, possibly by Secret Service agents, and then the Dallas Morning News followed up with news that an agent was ready to testify that he saw the president and Lewinsky engage in a sex act.

Of course, these still unsubstantiated rumors were repeated over and over again by the news media, giving them an air of respectability. Amidst this media roar, President Clinton infamously shook his finger at the American public and denied having sex with "that woman.

Newt Gingrich and others who led the impeachment charge lost favor with the American public with some being forced to leave government because of their own revealed sexual indiscretions. Opinion polls showed that Americans had lost respect for the news media and did not like the way the saga was covered.

We think the most telling statistic of all is this: QVC, the "All Shopping, All the Time" TV network posted the second- highest sales week in its history immediately after the August 17 admission by Clinton. Apparently, many of those It was as if American citizens were saying, "I am sick and tired of the blather.

I am going shopping. The mass media respond to our itch for entertainment and spectacle and create "news" coverage of the ilk found in the O. Simpson trial and the Monica Lewinsky saga.

Such "news" coverage feeds our cynicism about government and the state of our nation. For example, consider the media coverage of the U. The campaign was marked by a lack of interest from both citizens and the news media. However, as soon as a possibly entertaining spectacle emerged—the recount of votes in Florida—then the networks launched around-the-clock coverage—coverage that feeds our cynicism that things seem to be out of control.

The losers are those of us who respect democracy. This itch for entertainment carries a price—the information we need to participate in a democracy is replaced by trivial entertainment, thus making it harder and harder for us to carry out our responsibilities as citizens.

We wrote this book because we passionately believe that there are more than two choices: naive acceptance of the fruits of propaganda on the one hand and total cynicism combined with a lust for entertainment on the other.

During an age characterized by ever more sophisticated uses of propaganda techniques, it is important, especially in a democracy, that citizens become informed about these devices, the psychological dynamics of what makes them effective, and how to counteract their effectiveness without withdrawing into abject cynicism.

Moreover, we believe we know something about how to guard against the abuse of these techniques by unscrupulous communicators—including especially those unscrupulous communicators who might be running for the highest political offices in the land.

In addition, our experience has led us to understand the difference between persuasion and propaganda. Thus, this book also contains advice for those of you who might want to be effective communicators in ways that are honest and above-board. We believe that, in an age of propaganda, the most important thing for the survival of democracy is the existence of communicators who know how to present their message clearly and fairly, coupled with an informed electorate that knows the difference between a fair presentation and a con job.

It is toward achieving these ends that we wrote this book. As with any effort of this size, there are a number of people who should be thanked. First, we would like to thank all the readers of the first edition of this book who bothered to mail us their opinions or who corresponded with us via interactive media such as talk radio and the Internet. In this revision, we sought to respond to your comments by clarifying a misleading or inaccurate point or even revising our opinion. In addition to these changes, we have also updated the research where appropriate , added new chapters on issues of concern to readers e.

Some people deserve special thanks. Marlene Turner provided continuous, invaluable feedback as the book was being written. During the trial, Houston prosecutor Mark Vinson placed some of the blame on the images created by advertising. Senate race was one of the most heated—and expensive— political contests in recent years. Going into the last weeks of the campaign, the black Democratic challenger, Harvey Gantt, held a slight lead in the polls over the white Republican incumbent, Jesse Helms.

Eight days before the election, Helms broadcast an ad dubbed "White Hands. The voice-over: "You needed that job, but they had to give it to a minority because of racial quotas. Is that really fair? The tactic worked so well that Helms did it again in his rematch with Gantt; this time Helms accused Gantt of being the recipient of preferential treatment in the awarding of contracts.

This ad contained the word RATS subliminally flashed across the television screen. Essentially, the story made it clear that a rape victim who chooses to press charges against her attacker runs the risk of undergoing an ordeal that may be as harrowing as the rape itself. In this case the rapist, exuding boyish innocence, presented a convincing argument to the effect that he had been seduced by the woman. During the next few weeks, there was a sharp decrease in the number of rapes reported by victims to the police—apparently because victims, taking their cue from the television movie, feared the police would not believe them.

In October , when seven people in the Chicago area died after taking Tylenol headache capsules laced with cyanide, the event was widely publicized by the national news media. Indeed, for several days it was difficult to turn on the TV or radio, or pick up a newspaper, without encountering the Tylenol poisonings.

The effects of this prominent coverage were immediate: Similar poisonings were reported in cities across the country, involving the contamination of mouthwash, eyedrops, nasal spray, soda pop, even hot dogs. Dramatically billed as "copycat poisonings," these incidents, in turn, received widespread media attention.

The public reaction spiralled: Many people panicked, seeking medical aid for burns and poisonings when they suffered from no more than common sore throats and stomachaches. False alarms outnumbered actual cases of product tampering by 7 to 1. What do Demetrick James Walker, the voters of North Carolina, rape victims, and, indeed, anyone who has ever watched television or read a newspaper or magazine have in common? Every time we turn on the radio or television, every time we open a book, magazine, or newspaper, someone is trying to educate us, to convince us to buy a product, to persuade us to vote for a candidate or to subscribe to some version of what is right, true, or beautiful.

This aim is most obvious in advertising: Manufacturers of nearly identical products aspirins, for example, or toothpastes, or detergents, or political candidates spend vast amounts of money to persuade us to buy the product in their package. Influence need not be so blatant—the impact of television news shows and programs such as Cry Rape, for instance, extends far beyond their most obvious effects as documentaries or dramatizations. This influence can be very subtle indeed, even unintentional.

As the response to the movie about rape aptly illustrates, even when communicators are not directly attempting to sell us something, they can succeed in influencing the way we look at the world and the way we respond to important events in our lives. The purpose of this book is to look at the nature of persuasion in our everyday life—to understand how it influences our behavior, how we can protect ourselves from unwanted propaganda, and how we can ultimately come to use persuasion wisely.

A Glut of Influence The primary vehicle for many persuasive appeals is the mass media. The statistics on the pervasiveness of the mass media are startling. In the United States, there are 1, television stations and four major networks, 10, radio stations, 1, daily newspapers and 7, weekly newspapers, more than 17, magazines and newsletters, and nine major film studios.

Americans have ample opportunity to consume mass media messages, and consume they do. Each year the typical American watches 1, hours of TV, listens to 1, hours of radio on one of million radio sets, and spends hours reading 94 pounds of newspapers and hours reading magazines.

Each year an American has the opportunity to read more than 50, new books in print. More than half of our waking hours are spent with the mass media. If you watch thirty hours of TV per week as does the typical American , you will view roughly 38, commercials per year. The average prime-time hour of TV contains more than 11 minutes of advertising.

That works out to more than TV ads per day. You are likely to hear or see another to ads per day through the other mass media of radio, newspapers, and magazines. And the advertising glut does not stop there. Today advertisers are developing new ways of delivering their message using the Internet and World Wide Web. Each day more than million Internet users worldwide check more than Approximately one in every twelve American families has a member working in sales. This force of millions attempts to persuade others to purchase everything from cars to shoes to small and large appliances, to contribute vast sums to needy charities, to enlist in the military, or to enroll in a specific college.

If you walk down just about any city street in America, you will encounter countless billboards, posters, bumper stickers, and bus and cab displays, each with a separate advertising appeal.


Age of Propaganda - Anthony R Pratkanis, Elliot Aronson

To my son, Tony T. Pratkanis born Chances are, he will grow up with a healthy skepticism but a regrettable cynicism about the truth of everything he reads, hears, and sees. One of us E. For example, I knew that all Germans were evil and that all Japanese were sneaky and treacherous, while all white Americans were clean-cut, honest, fair-minded, and trusting. Perhaps you had to be eleven years old to take seriously the racial and national caricatures presented in the war movies of the early s.



I didnt know much going in, so it was a surprising read. This book promises to help you identify all the forms of persuasion and also teach you tactics to respond or counteract various forms of persuasion. Is this promise realized? That is hard to say. The book does a great job of identifying the various forms and persuasion and the 4 persuasion phases: pre-persuasion, communicator credibility, message delivery and emotional appeals.

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