Getting It Right, Making It Easy, and Validating Our Partisan Commitments

Howard G. Lavine, Christopher D. Johnston and Marco R. Steenbergen

in The Ambivalent Partisan

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199772759
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979622 | DOI:

Series: Series in Political Psychology

Getting It Right, Making It Easy, and Validating Our Partisan Commitments

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This chapter provides a detailed discussion of a theoretical model underlying the ambivalent partisan. The key motivational concepts of “least effort,” “sufficiency,” “belief perseverance,” and “partisan ambivalence” are introduced, and their relationship to information processing effort is explained. Specifically, when possible, citizens will default to a low-effort mode of partisan-based judgment, leading to shallow and biased reasoning. When contemporary evaluations of party performance conflict with partisan loyalty (i.e., when partisan ambivalence is experienced), however, partisanship becomes less cognitively accessible and viewed as a less reliable judgmental yardstick. Under these conditions, citizens engage in more extensive and evenhanded thought. This chapter presents a unique dual-process model of political cognition, one that integrates a broad array of literatures and places political context at the fore.

Keywords: dual-process; information processing; ambivalence; least effort; political cognition

Chapter.  6966 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Sociology

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