The Rationalizing Voter

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 22, 2013 - Political Science - 300 pages
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Political behavior is the result of innumerable unnoticed forces and conscious deliberation is often a rationalization of automatically triggered feelings and thoughts. Citizens are very sensitive to environmental contextual factors such as the title "President" preceding "Obama" in a newspaper headline, upbeat music or patriotic symbols accompanying a campaign ad, or question wording and order in a survey, all of which have their greatest influence when citizens are unaware. This book develops and tests a dual-process theory of political beliefs, attitudes, and behavior, claiming that all thinking, feeling, reasoning, and doing have an automatic component as well as a conscious deliberative component. The authors are especially interested in the impact of automatic feelings on political judgments and evaluations. This research is based on laboratory experiments, which allow the testing of five basic hypotheses: hot cognition, automaticity, affect transfer, affect contagion, and motivated reasoning.

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About the author (2013)

Milton Lodge is a Distinguished University Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University. He is the author of three books and numerous research articles in political science and psychology, a Fulbright Research Scholar (Nepal), a Research Scholar at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Charles S. Taber is a Professor of Political Science and Dean of the Graduate School at Stony Brook University. He has written several books and many articles on political psychology and computational modeling in the social sciences. He is the winner of nine research grants from the National Science Foundation. Professor Taber is a past editor of the journal Political Psychology and serves on several editorial boards in political science.