Building support for the manned exploration of mars: lessons from theory and research on persuasion and attitude change

Albert A. Harrison, Robert A Bell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Human exploration of space is a large-scale effort whose progress is dependent upon a high level of public support. Drawing from an extensive literature on information campaigns, persuasion, and attitudes, we identify strategies for developing "grass roots" enthusiasm for the manned exploration of Mars. We should not settle for producing positive emotional responses to a Manned Mars mission but instead must seek to develop thoughtful attitudes that will persist over time and encourage the kinds of behaviors that will make the mission occur. No single approach will reach all segments of the population. The same persuasive techniques that enthuse and mobilize knowledgeable and informed audiences that are already in favor of the venture are not likely to sway uninformed or uninvolved audiences that have neutral or negative attitudes toward the mission. We discuss the effects on various audiences of communicator credibility, quality and quantity of arguments, evidentiary support, opinionated and vivid language, acknowledgment of opposing views, explicitness of conclusions, position discrepancy, and other variables. We conclude with discussions of the role of pivotal audiences including children, media personnel, and opinion leaders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationScience and Technology Series
Pages77-93
Number of pages17
Edition98
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering

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