Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

The complex psychology behind political memes

by Austin Cross and A Martínez | Take Two

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This photo taken on January 7, 2010 shows a woman typing on the keyboard of her laptop computer in Beijing. China declared its Internet "open" on January 14 but defended censorship that has prompted Web giant Google to threaten to pull out of the country, sparking a potential new irritant in China-US relations. China employs a vast system of Web censorship dubbed the "Great Firewall of China" that blocks content such as political dissent, pornography and other information viewed as objectionable and the issue looks likely to shape up as the latest addition to a growing list of disputes between China and the United States over trade, climate change and human rights. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images) FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

Memes — you’ve probably seen a few in your Facebook feed today, and, given the tone of the presidential race, it’s safe to say you’ll probably see a lot more in the months ahead.

Political memes often use pictures familiar to us in popular culture, paired with short and snappy text. Combined, they’re an effective tool for communicating an (often partisan) point.

But what makes memes such an effective way to send a message? Can a meme ever change a voter’s mind?

Take Two put that question to Morteza Dehghani, assistant professor of psychology and computer science at USC.

Press the blue play button above to hear the interview. 

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