Political Behavior

, 31:103

Does the Content of Political Appeals Matter in Motivating Participation? A Field Experiment on Self-disclosure in Political Appeals

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11109-008-9066-9

Cite this article as:
Han, H.C. Polit Behav (2009) 31: 103. doi:10.1007/s11109-008-9066-9


Although robust citizen participation is fundamental to a healthy democracy, we still lack a clear sense of how to motivate participation. This paper presents the results of an experimental study designed to see if the content of political appeals matters in motivating participation. Previous research in this area has had mixed results. This paper finds that political appeals that include some self-disclosure about the person making the request triggers a liking heuristic that causes subjects to be more likely to comply with a request for action. Subjects receiving the treatment appeal are significantly more likely to donate money to support a political cause.


Political participationPolitical appealsCanvassingSelf-disclosureField experiment

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceWellesley CollegeWellesleyUSA