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The Impact Of Memory On Voting Behaviors

993 words - 4 pages

The Impact of Memory on Voting Behaviors

In "The Determinants and Consequences of Recall Error about Gulf War Preferences", Mark Joslyn examines the effects of outside influences on the opinions of voters. Specifically, Joslyn explores errors in autobiographical memories of opinions of the government's involvement in the Gulf War and studies the change of opinions of individuals pre and post war.
Memories are an important factor when making political decisions. It is necessary to study these memories to help political researchers anticipate the way voters may vote in upcoming elections. Joslyn investigated various data to determine whether: 1) outside influences used to ...view middle of the document...

(Joslyn, 2003, p. 441). Joslyn's research examined the phenomenon relating to the difference in the opinions of the public before and after the Gulf War to determine what caused the error in their memories and how this change affected their voting behavior.
People's memories deteriorate over time. When they are asked to recall a decision made in the past, they "make an educated guess based on clues to the original memories" (Joslyn, 2003, p. 442). In many cases, people do not realize that they have changed their opinion. This replacement of their memory is affected by outside influences such as the media and the opinion of a trusted source, such as the government.
To test his hypothesis, Joslyn used "multivariate logistic regression" (Joslyn, 2003, p. 443). Memory replacement was the dependent variable and codes were given for the various opinions of the government's involvement in the war. A second variable, the number of days per week in which a person watched television, was also assigned a number based on the findings. Additional variables including the education level of the participant, their knowledge of politics, their measure of trust in the government and internal effect. Controls in his research included change in personal attitudes, political party identification, and the date of the interview. (Joslyn 2003, p. 443).
Joslyn found that there is an increased likelihood of an inaccurate memory of people that believed pre-war that we should seek a peaceful solution. The coefficients of the control variables show political views and social influence are significant factors concerning memory recall. In political parties, Republicans tend to have errors in their memory more than Democrats (Joslyn, 2003, p. 444). The actions of the government in the Gulf War had a significant effect on the current opinions of our role in the war. The date of the post-war interview had a significant effect on the change of opinions as the later...

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