The third Presidential Debate in the United States is tomorrow and this means countless advertisements from the candidates trying to get you to vote for them.
Have you noticed what I have? It's Fear.
I have found this election rife with fearmongering which is when people deliberately arouse public fear and alarm about a particular issue. This made me question the use of this tactic. Why fearmongering? Why not use positive ads to inspire and to get the public to love them? Why fear?
The answer is simple.
Fear is the strongest of human emotions and the Presidential Election Candidates know it. Fear has been shown to reside in the lower parts of our brain, specifically in the amygdala, making us quite literally hardwired to fear. It is how we have stayed alive and survived as cavemen. It was fear that triggered us to run away from the man-eating animals and such. This deep seated, primal emotion makes us vulnerable to all sorts of manipulations that others take advantage of. Politicians have learned that playing with our fear is a sure-fire way to get them votes. If you don’t vote for me, this bad thing will happen!
So when you find yourself reacting to these ads, remember you need to move beyond your caveman brain because you are being fear mongered. How do you really feel? How do you want to feel? How do you bridge the gap if it exists?
Have you seen any ads that strike you as fearmongering? Which candidate is using fearmongering more? Who is reaping more success from fearmongering?
Share your thoughts.