No. 3




Cognition, Media and Political Communication

18 June 2001


RiTo No. 3, 2001

  • Voldemar Kolga

    Professor of Psychology, Tallinn Pedagogical University and Nord Academy

Cognition, media and political communication are being shaped daily. Since there is less time for decisions, especially in the case of political decisions, no one is able to go into details. Cognitive heuristics as a dimension of ambiguity may direct the decision-making process rightly or wrongly. A typical example of this situation was the findings of one social study, which was not analysed in depth by the press. As a result, the findings were misinterpreted and lead to wrong political decisions.

Modern press is gradually losing its function of reflecting reality and the media itself is being transformed into a message (“Media is Message”) that does not correspond with public expectations. As described by Baudrillard, media has begun to construct its own reality. Hyper-reality is reality mixed with simulations. Visual and picturesque elements in media are becoming more important as was evident in the recent political scandal on the shooting of an opposition leader’s photo. In this way, politicians are becoming players in simulated media, further increasing irrationality.

There are several signs in Estonia, indicating that the public is becoming more apolitical. This is attributable to weak political communication (low turnout in elections, indifference towards political affiliation, etc.). The standstill in Estonian politics could be interpreted as the arrival of the peaceful Scandinavian era. In the light of postmodernist theory, one detects a weakening of social nerve, especially in politics. As a reaction to this condition, political differences may start to vane, leading to coalitions between former political archenemies. Non-verbal indicators of lying are annexed.

Full article in Estonian