Impersonal Influence: How Perceptions of Mass Collectives Affect Political Attitudes / Edition 1

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Overview

Impersonal influence is about how people are affected by their perceptions of the collective opinions or experiences of others—things such as the well-publicized results of opinion polls (in the case of others' opinions), or media's coverage of the collective experiences of others (such as the extent to which others are experiencing financial problems or are being victimized by crimes). Media content is particularly well suited to serving as a credible channel of information about large-scale collective phenomena. Coverage of the collective opinions (in the case of perceptions of social problems such as crime or unemployment) alters people's political attitudes in surprising, yet subtle ways. These kinds of effects have important implications for the quality of public opinion and the accountability of political leaders in a mass mediated democracy.

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures; List of tables; Preface; Acknowledgments; Part I. Theory and Historical Context: 1. The generalized other: social influence in contemporary American politics; 2. Beyond personal Influence: the rise of impersonal associations; 3. The origin of perceptions of mass collectives: mass media's role; Part II. Effects of Perceptions of Mass Experience: 4. The politicization of personal and collective experience; 5. Connecting the personal and the political: media as facilitator or inhibitor?; Part III. Effects of Perceptions of Mass Opinion: 6. When does success succeed? A review of the evidence; 7. The social psychology of impersonal influence from collective opinion; 8. The role of collective opinion in individual judgment: processes and effects; Part IV. Conclusion; 9. Impersonal influence and the mass society tradition; Appendix: Methodology; References; Index.

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