The Effect of Credibility Heuristics on the Political Decisions of Older Adults in the African American Community

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study examined age differences in the influence of messages from credible religious leaders on political decision-making within the African American community. Participants were exposed to fictious vignettes in which a credible pastor endorsed the platform of a fictional politician. The platforms presented varied in ease of comprehension, as this has been found to affect the likelihood of using either heuristic or systematic processing in decision-making. After reading over the platform, participants indicated the likelihood that they would vote for the candidate. Consistent with existing literature, the results show that older adults were more likely to use heuristic processing than younger adults. This was illustrated by older participants indicating a higher likelihood of voting for a political candidate than younger adults, even when the candidate's platform was incongruent with their policy views. The results indicate that older adults were more likely than younger adults to rely on the recommendation of the pastor. Results from this study add to the existing literature regarding decision-making in older adults, particularly heuristic processing.

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Aging, Decision-making