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Some Reasons Why Information Campaign Fail – Hyman and Sheatsley 1947 Essay

Some reasons why information campaign fail- Hyman and Sheatsley 1947 Even if all physical barriers to communication were known and removed there would remain many psychological barriers to the free flow of ideas. The purpose is to demonstrate some of these psychological factors that impede comm and thereby formulate certain principles and guides which must be considered in mass information campaigns.

1. The Chronic “Know-nothing’s” in relation to information campaigns All persons do not offer equal targets for information campaigns. Surveys consistently find that a certain proportion of the population is not familiar with any particular event. It can be commonly thought that the information campaign was not distributed broadly enough to reach them, however when knowledge of the same group is measure in relation to another event they still know very little of nothing about it. If all persons provided equal targets for expose there would be no reason for the same individual always to show a relative lack of knowledge. Instead there is something about the uninformed which make them harder to reach, no matter what the level or nature of the information.

2. Interested people acquire the most information: the importance of motivation in achievement or learning or in assimilating knowledge, has been consistently shown in academic studies, but they are often ignore in information campaigns. The widest possible dissemination of material may be ineffective if it is not geared to the public’s interests. Although knowledge and ignorance are measured, interest is overlooked. Yet it can easily be measured as well and it is highly significant in understanding the factors behind a given level of knowledge. Motivation can be high on some issues and low on other, but on foreign affairs they tend to be generalized: some people interest in many, some in any. And if one gets interest in one topic the interest may also rise in another related topic. It can be argued that the expose people became interest after being exposed. These factors are very closely related: as people learn more their interest increases and as their interest increases they are impelled to learn more. But from the point of view of initiating a specific campaign the interest factor cannot be ignored.

3. People seek information congenial to prior attitudes: information campaigns involve the presentation of fact, nevertheless this material may or may not be pleasant with the attitudes of every given individual. *Lazarsfeld (referred also by Bauer): people selected political material in accord with their own taste and bias. People tend to expose themselves to information which is congenial with their prior attitudes selective exposure: those with prior knowledge of the information had significantly different attitudes.

4. People interpret the same information differently: it is equally false to assume that exposure, once achieved, results in a uniform interpretation and retention of the material. It has been consistently demonstrated that a person’s perception and memory of materials shown to him are often distorted by his wishes, motives and attitudes.

5. Information does not necessarily change attitudes: the principle behind all information campaigns is that the disseminated information will alter attitudes or conduct. There is abundant evidence in all fields, or course, that informed people actually do react differently to a problem than uninformed people do. But it is naïve to suppose that information always affects attitudes equally. Individuals once they are exposed to information change their views differentially, each in the light of his own prior attitude. For those who already favor a point of view they get even close to it, while for those who are negative, they distant even more.

CONCLUSION those responsible for information campaign cannot rely simply on increasing the flow.


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