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SOURCE Spencer Kimball
Research provides valuable data and eliminates polling biases with integration of electronic monitoring system
BOSTON, Oct. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Do you listen to an auto call? The answer is most likely yes, which is the upshot of an intriguing new study which found that three out of four people (75%) are listening to over 19 seconds of a message, which equates to over 40 words. The vast majority of people, 97%, listen to at least 6 seconds of an "auto call" (a pre-recorded).
The study conducted by Emerson College's Scholar-in-Residence, Spencer Kimball, the paper's lead author provides provocative insights on why campaigns use auto calls – a direct challenge to previous studies that conclude that such calls are ineffective. These findings suggest that this amount of exposure – far longer than originally thought - might have some effect. Kimball explained the study's focus was to test the conventional wisdom that auto calls were not listened to at all - rather than an attempt to measure the effect, if any, that such calls might have on voters' attitudes or turnout.
Kimball explained the context from which the study emerged: "The students and I were talking one day about auto calls they had received from former President Bill Clinton endorsing a candidate, and we came up with the idea of actually going out and testing whether people listen to these automated messages."
According to Kimball the value of this this data, compared to previous studies, is that instead of using self-reports of what people say they do, this study eliminated this bias by using an electronic monitoring system integrated into all IVR software. This software tracks how long a message is listened to by a live answerer for billing purposes, without the answerer knowing such measurement is occurring.
The data, provided by a third party vendor, consisted of 157 call projects with a total of 389,588 live answered phone calls from the last week of the 2012 election. The average listen length was 27.6 seconds per live answer.
The findings are important, according to Kimball, based on 'mere-exposure' theory, which suggests that people tend to be influenced by a message, even subtle messages. Another theory, the 'sleeper effect' may apply - that a message repeated enough times may subconsciously persuade voters.
The data found only 3% of respondents who answered the call hung up almost immediately (within 6 seconds) and that a total of 97% listen to more than six seconds, with 86% listening to more than 12 seconds, and 75% listening to more than 19 seconds.
Auto calls are also called robo calls, or interactive voice recognition (IVR) calls. The full study will be published in the peer-reviewed journal American Behavioral Scientist in Spring of 2014. For a pre-release copy email email@example.com
Read more news from Emerson College Polling Society.
Prof. Spencer Kimball Esq., JD, MA, MS
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