“in Presidential Election Image Is More Important Than Substance?”

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“Those who heard the first debate on the radio pronounced Nixon the winner. But the 70 million who watched television saw a candidate sick and discomforted by Kennedy's smooth delivery and charisma. Studies of the audience indicate that those television viewers focused on what they saw, not what they heard, Kennedy was perceived the winner of the first debate by a very large margin.”

In Presidential election image is therefore more important than substance, due to the facts that humans are affected by perception bias, that Media more and more rely on image and that politics use those two facts to use image as a communication tool.

Humans are affected by perception bias, they don’t see the world as it is but in fact make themselves a perception of their environment using information provided by their sensorial capacities. Studies show that vision is the most developed of humans 5 sensorial factors, therefore image is the most important element of our environment. Furthermore Thorndike showed that humans are affected by what he calls “Halo effect” where the first traits we recognize in people influence our interpretation of later ones. Following this, Solomon Asch made a study which results show that attractiveness is a central trait and therefore impacts the perception one has on all others.

Image is the main support for Media with the development of new technologies such as TV in the 50’s and Internet in the 90’s; Media rely increasingly on image as a support tool for providing information. Image has seen its place in our society boom over the past 50 years as an information, communication and advertising tool. Such as in magazines, Internet or simply in public places one can see images everywhere, on walls, bus stops, etc… Furthermore Media now use software technologies to change pictures in order to make people more attractive on image.

Politics are aware that Image is a key element in our society and therefore have developed communication by image...
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