Researchers have claimed that viewing sentimental films could influence a person’s political opinions more than advertising or news reports.
A group of political scientists at the University of Notre Dame explored the power of political messages in popular movies, and found that the films possessed the ability to change attitudes, especially on issues unframed by the media, The Independent reported.
Around 300 students at Notre Dame – 50 per cent of whom said they regarded themselves as conservative – were polled on their political views, shown a film, then questioned again. Some students were asked to view a "control" movie which was seen as having no underlying political leanings, while others viewed As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson or The Rainmaker with Matt Damon.
Lead author Dr Todd Adkins said that those watching the films with both subtle and strong liberal messages were mnore likely to experience leftward shifts in attitude, regardless of what they stood for beforehand.
The research has been published in Social Science Quarterly.