Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Student Assignment: The Election Challenge

    Your Election Challenge is to use psychology to persuade at least three people to vote for a U.S. presidential candidate of your choice on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. In each case, these people should be individuals who would otherwise vote for another candidate or would not vote at all. For voting hours and locations, registration deadlines, and other information, see:

Part I: Try to Secure Votes from at Least 3 People

In the first part of this assignment, your task is to get at least three people to vote for the U.S. presidential candidate of your choice. These people can be:

  1. Registered voters who were planning to support a candidate other than yours

  2. Registered voters who were not planning to vote in this election

  3. Unregistered voters whom you persuade to register and vote for your candidate

Note: The people you approach don't need to live on or near campus—you're welcome to seek support from eligible voters anywhere in the country. Also, please note that you don't need to gain three votes to get credit for the assignment; the challenge is simply to make your best effort and analyze the experience. Even if you're not eligible to vote in the upcoming U.S. election, see if you can persuade three eligible voters to support your chosen candidate. To make the assignment as fair as possible, students who are U.S. citizens should not trade their own vote in order to persuade others to support their candidate, and they should not count their own vote among the three.

Part II: Write About Your Experience

Turn in a description of your activities, the reactions people had, and your best post-election estimate of how many votes you ultimately secured for your candidate (limited in length to one typewritten double-spaced page using 1" margins and 12-point font).

Important Note

This assignment is intended to be engaging and informative, but you can opt out of it if you prefer to do so. If at any point you prefer not to complete an assignment (or if your attempt to complete it is unsuccessful), you can still receive full credit by turning in a one-page report discussing the psychological factors that prevented you from carrying out the assignment. For an alternative assignment related to persuasion, see the Internet-Based Persuasion Assignment.

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