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The Impact of Memory on Voting Behaviors

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The Impact of Memory on Voting Behaviors

In "The Determinants and Consequences of Recall Error about Gulf War Preferences", Mark Joslyn examines the effects of outside influences on the opinions of voters. Specifically, Joslyn explores errors in autobiographical memories of opinions of the government's involvement in the Gulf War and studies the change of opinions of individuals pre and post war. Memories are an important factor when making political decisions. It is necessary to study these memories to help political researchers anticipate the way voters may vote in upcoming elections. Joslyn investigated various data to determine whether: 1) outside influences used to reconstruct a person's memory in a way that alters their opinion regarding an issue; and 2) the support of the government of the issue can change a person's opinion. Similar research had been performed by such authors as Shanto Iyengar and Adam Simon, but they did not address the issue of why the percentage of people opposed to the Gulf War prior to the war decreased sharply when the same people were interviewed after the war (Joslyn, 2003, p. 442). Joslyn examined the opinions of the public before and after the Gulf War to determined how the outside influences effected the voting behaviors of that group. A survey conducted by the American National Election Studies (ANES) found that people rely on the popular opinions that they see in the media as opposed to recalling their own preferences at
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