COMPARATIVE EFFICACY OF ANECDOTAL AND STATISTICAL APPEALS IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE POLICY REFORM
AuthorJayaraman, Rahul Saikumar
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn any discourse, the structure of a message is a critical element of its persuasiveness, one which a speaker or writer needs to always consider in order to deliver the most effective appeal. Criminal justice discourse is no different. Our study aimed to compare the efficacy of three different message structures within a framework of criminal justice policy in the United States, a framework marked by two opposing ideologies: punitive and rehabilitative. The message structures we used were an emotional/anecdotal appeal, a statistical appeal, and a mixed appeal. We also added an experimental racial component to the survey utilized, dividing the participants into three groups who received slightly different surveys, in order to measure if there was a significant racial effect to these results. 54 University of Arizona students were polled through SONA, the university’s participant recruiting system, using a survey designed to test these research questions. Ultimately, we found that emotional or anecdotal appeals were the most effective across both ideologies, followed by mixed appeals, and finally statistical appeals. No statistically-significant racial effect was noted. This research has implications for research in the field of political psychology, particularly on issues like cognitive message transmission and political messaging.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science