How To Distract People Into Accepting Propaganda

Propaganda is all about seizing your attention and your will. It turns out, though, that a few moments of distraction can actually enhance the effectiveness of some types of propaganda. Here's how distracting people can be as good as convincing them.

Propaganda is meant to put across a single point, relentlessly and clearly. It's meant to make the point so ubiquitous and obvious that it becomes accepted without question. Maintaining a person's attention during the administration of the propaganda has always been considered crucial — until a couple of scientists tested the idea that adding some distraction to propaganda might make it more convincing, not less.

In some cases, they found that distraction does no good. When people are distracted during propaganda which is meant to enhance good feelings towards certain things and negative feelings toward others, the propaganda is less effective. But when the propaganda is meant to communicate an argument, rather than just feelings, a little distraction can be convincing.

Participants in an experiment were presented with two types of propaganda, one that could be easily counter-argued, and one with no easy counter-argument. When people were distracted from the propaganda that had no easy counter-argument, they were less likely to believe it. However, when the propagandist had the tough job of putting across a piece of propaganda that was easily counter-argued, people were more likely to believe it when they were distracted from it. Although under most circumstances, they'd be able to come up with a counter-argument, when they were distracted, they went along with what was being said. The lesson is clear. If you don't have a convincing argument, then LOOK A FLUFFY KITTEN.

How To Distract People Into Accepting Propaganda

[Via Distraction Can Reduce or Enhance Yielding to Propaganda.]