Brownies and Presidency

The Social Judgment Theory is a theory that influences us more than we are aware, multiple times a day. This theory explains to us not only why people get agitated so easily, but also why persuasion is such a hard task to accomplish. We all have an opinion on topics yet we can be swayed within our personal boundaries as to if we accept the information that is being presented to us or to reject it. For example, if a customer was to go into a bakery and wanting to buy a soft chewy brownie, this is considered their anchor point, yet is sold one that is crunchy and dry, it may be outside of the lines of their personal boundaries and into their latitude of rejection. However, if they are to have a brownie that has a flaky top but still a soft center, they may become more persuaded to eat their brownies in a different way. This would be within their latitude of acceptance.

This is an example of an add the Obama campaign supported while running against Governor Mitt Romney in 2012. In this ad, the Obama campaign targets Romney and claims that while he claims to be standing up to China, The Washington Post has reported he is investing American jobs overseas and investing specializing in relocating American jobs overseas like China.   They then make accusations that Romney has never stood up to China and has only ever sent them our jobs.

After hearing this message, the first thing we do is judge the message we just heard or saw and assess as to where it falls in comparison to our own anchoring point or view on the situation.  Are we angered by the fact that Romney is not, according to the Obama campaign, standing up to his promises and word? Are we more agitated that it has been reported that instead of bringing jobs to the United States he is outsourcing them?

After determining where our anchoring point we then determine if the new idea, that Romney is outsourcing too many American jobs, is either assimilation, which simply means appears close to our individual anchor point, making it fall within our latitude of acceptance. If the idea is too farfetched or in this case is irrelevant as to our opinion of Romney it is a contrast, meaning it appears further away from our anchor point and putting the idea into our latitude of rejection.  We then move our anchor point according to the new information we just took in, the judgments we are now placing.  It is fair to assume that this ad and many similar ones moved American voters’ anchor points when it came to the topic of Presidency in the 2012 election. We can take away that the Obama campaign’s use of persuading voters by social judgments was very effective by Barack Obama gaining reelection.

Kelsey Bates

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