Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Beware the worm that eats elections

The first programme in the new series of All in the Mind interviewed the psychologist Professor Colin Davis - the interview runs from 2:00 to 7:30 in the recording.

He talked about his research on TV election debates and the influence of the on screen 'worm' used to show what a group of undecided voters think about what's being said throughout the debate.

Colin Davis's paper Social influence in televised election debates: A potential distortion of democracy can be found online. Its conclusion:
In sum, our data indicate that viewers exposed to the worm are subject to social influence processes which later form the basis of their opinions. Thus, the responses of a small group of individuals could, via the worm, influence millions of voters. This possibility is not conducive to a healthy democracy, and therefore we argue that broadcasters should avoid the simultaneous presentation of average response data with televised election debates

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

As frightening was the revelation that the opinions of no more than 50 people contributed to the 2015 "worm". It was even worse in 2010; the figure was 12.