Laboratory Experiments in American Political Behavior

Kim L. Fridkin and Patrick J. Kenney

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Laboratory Experiments in American Political Behavior

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  • Politics
  • US Politics
  • Political Behaviour



This article concentrates on laboratory experiments. It starts by presenting a short discussion of the virtues and limitations of experimental research. It then outlines the contributions and advances derived from experiments in American political behavior. In addition, the focus of discussion is on the three areas within American political behavior: the role of stereotypes in campaigns, impression formation, and the influence of the media. Experiments showed theoretical expectations emanating from social psychology that individuals employ gender and racial stereotypes when evaluating politics and forming impressions of candidates and politicians. The experimental method was vital in advancing the understanding of how citizens incorporate and process information during contemporary campaigns. Moreover, the experimental methodology has enabled researchers to convincingly reveal that the media influence how citizens view politics in a number of distinct ways.

Keywords: American political behavior; racial stereotypes; gender stereotypes; contemporary campaigns; media; laboratory experiments

Article.  7553 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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