Education: Harvard University, Ph.D.
Writer and educator. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, associate professor of political science, research associate professor at the Center for Political Studies, former adjunct associate professor of communication studies.
Campaigning for Hearts and Minds: How Emotional Appeals in Political Ads Work, University of Chicago Press (Chicago, IL), 2006.
Contributor of articles to scholarly journals, including American Journal of Political Science.
As a research assistant professor with the University of Michigan's Center for Political Studies, Ted Brader researches public opinion, media effects, political psychology, campaigns and elections, and political parties. In his 2006 book Campaigning for Hearts and Minds: How Emotional Appeals in Political Ads Work, he examines the role that emotions play in campaign advertising. His book is based on both field observations and experiments and on neuropsychological theories of emotion. As noted on his home page, Brader's research in this book "confirms, ironically, that ‘feel good’ ads polarize the electorate by reinforcing prior beliefs and energizing involvement, while fear ads unsettle political habits to stimulate greater thinking, learning, and opinion change."
Brader notes in his work that fear ads, as well as negative ads, are persuasive and can be productive. They produce anxiety in the viewer, which can act as a motivator and even force voters into deeper thought about the issues or the candidates. Brader's conclusion about the effectiveness of emotion in campaigning reconfirms the conventional wisdom of campaign directors who have used such appeals for decades if not centuries. His research includes experiments from 1998 and 2001 that give pre- and post-tests to viewers of emotion-based messages and television ads to measure the swaying effect of such information. As Thomas C. Brogan noted in Perspectives on Political Science, "Brader finds that both enthusiasm and fear motivate and persuade citizens, but not in the same way." Thus, while fear motivates the viewer to participate, enthusiastic ads appear to motivate involvement to a higher degree. Brogan also noted: "A counterintuitive finding is that those most knowledgeable about politics are the ones most influenced by these emotional appeals because they are aware of the political arena and care more about it than those less informed voters." Writing in Campaigns & Elections, Morgan E. Felchner noted that Brader makes the case that ads which appeal to the emotions "will help to reinvigorate campaigns and politics as a whole." Writing in the Political Science Quarterly, Glenn W. Richardson, Jr., concluded: "Brader extends existing scholarship by empirically demonstrating how the theory of affective intelligence can advance our understanding of the role of emotion in political advertising. His work deserves a wide audience."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Campaigns & Elections, February, 2006, Morgan E. Felchner, "Emotion in Politics?," p. 47.
Choice, May, 2006, R.M. Alexander, review of Campaigning for Hearts and Minds: How Emotional Appeals in Political Ads Work, p. 1677.
Perspectives on Political Science, summer, 2006, Thomas C. Brogan, review of Campaigning for Hearts and Minds, p. 180.
Political Communication, October 1, 2007, "In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns," p. 450.
Political Science Quarterly, fall, 2006, Glenn W. Richardson, Jr., review of Campaigning for Hearts and Minds, p. 513.
Science, June 30, 2006, "Stoking the Voters Passions," p. 1878.
Ted Brader Home Page, http://brader.isr.umich.edu (February 29, 2008).
University of Michigan Department of Political Science,http://polisci.lsa.umich.edu/ (February 29, 2008), "Ted Brader."