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Journalism: Message Distortion in Articles


The two articles discuss how smell affects social preferences. The press release article reflects some distortions of the message contained in the journal article. One distortion that is clearly notable is the difference in the titles of the two articles. The title of the scholarly article is “Subliminal Smells Can Guide Social Preferences,” while the one for the press release is “Take it easy on the perfume! You might be setting yourself up for social rejection! “The title of the scholarly article represents a fair title that does not present any biasness. The title informs the reader that some smells influence one’s social preference.

This is an objective title that does not regard the issue under consideration with finality. The presence of the word ‘can’ indicates that smell can either influence one’s social preference or not. On the other hand, the title that is used in the press release article shows some elements of biasness. In addition, it creates an alarming effect on the readers. This is demonstrated by the manner in which the title emphasizes the effect of smell in determining social preferences. The title warns individuals to be more cautious about the smell, as it can ruin one’s social preference.

It is well known that both men and women appreciate recognition in any social setting. Thus, the author of the press release article should not have adopted the title used for this article. Moreover, the article is more likely to cause a lot of unnecessary worry for the many people who come across it. What’s more, the issue that is being discussed here (whether smell can affect one’s social preference) is not even verified by the research (Li, Moallem, Paller, & Gottfried, 2011).

Both articles explain the behavior of the participants after being exposed to the pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant odor. It was generally noted that, when the participants were exposed to the pleasant smell, their heartbeat increased. This increase was a result of the attraction towards the lovely smell. Subsequently, this also affects the participants’ facial appearance. Indeed, their faces are described as being likable. In addition, we also find some distortion where the press release article reported that pleasant smells could act as a basis for establishing strong friendships and romance.

This is erroneous because a pleasant smell does not always guarantee romance between couples. In other words, a pleasant smell is not solely responsible for triggering social relationships. On the contrary, the scholarly article states that the effect of smell on social preference is only applicable in the absence of conscious awareness. The press release article should also have reported this information so that the readers can be adequately informed on the issue under consideration (Press Release. 2008).

The discussion about the notable distortions between the two articles is undeniably salient. It educates the readers to scrutinize all the information that they come across. This is because many articles that are written and published in the newspapers, magazines, and other publications do not guarantee a hundred percent authenticity of the information they contain. Most of them are biased, depending on the authors’ perceptions. Moreover, some articles are tailored to distort the factual meaning to create a certain perception of targeted groups of people in order to influence their decisions. For instance, the representation of information on the press release article is a good example of distorted information.

The title of the article and it’s subsequent discussion are modified in a manner that reflects some biases towards specific smells and, in particular certain ‘perfumes.’ The author seems to be trying to influence the perceptions of the readers against using specific perfumes. That could be the reason why he/she uses such subjective words to caution people against certain perfumes that have specific smells. More often than not, such articles (with distorted messages) are sponsored by certain firms with the aim of influencing the perceptions of individuals.

Consequently, this may also influence their decisions on certain products and, thus, their choices. Such companies often pay such writers to publish articles with distorted information so as to discourage certain products and enhance their sales. This tactic is usually meant to influence consumers to develop a positive perception of their products. These articles are habitually accompanied by their advertisements that carry a message that demonstrates how their products (in this case, perfumes) are designed to give out pleasant smells. The advertisements also point up how these perfumes have succeeded in helping their consumers to build strong and lasting relationships.

However, this is a wrong marketing strategy to influence the consumers’ perception. In order to establish long and lasting relationships with consumers, firms should understand that consumers’ decisions should be based on factual information, but they should not deceive their customers into buying their products. Instead, such firms should adopt other means of positioning their products into the market rather than rely on false tactics. This is because, once their clients realize that they are being cheated, they may desist buying their products ever again.

The press release article distorted the message contained in the journal article by the manner in which it reported it.

Reference List

Li, W., Moallem, I., Paller, K., & Gottfried, J. (2011).Subliminal Smells Can Guide Social Preferences. Psychological Science.1-7.

Press Release. (2008) Take it easy on the perfume! You might be setting yourself up for social rejection! The Dairy Mail.

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 17). Journalism: Message Distortion in Articles. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/journalism-message-distortion-in-articles/

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1. IvyPanda. "Journalism: Message Distortion in Articles." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/journalism-message-distortion-in-articles/.


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IvyPanda. "Journalism: Message Distortion in Articles." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/journalism-message-distortion-in-articles/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Journalism: Message Distortion in Articles." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/journalism-message-distortion-in-articles/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Journalism: Message Distortion in Articles'. 17 July.

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