Affective Intelligence and Voting: Information Processing and Learning in a Campaign

David P. Redlawsk, Andrew J. W. Civettini and Richard R. Lau

in The Affect Effect

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780226574417
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226574431 | DOI:
Affective Intelligence and Voting: Information Processing and Learning in a Campaign

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This chapter uses dynamic tracing methodology to analyze the way emotion functions in a political campaign. It specifically describes how initial feeling toward a political candidate affects the evaluation of new information and how emotional reactions to that information influence learning. Hypothesis 1 indicates that specific issue positions taken by preferred and rejected candidates can yield affective responses in voters. As the distance between a voter's issue preference and a candidate's issue position gets larger, anxiety or anger is in fact generated. Hypothesis 2 tests whether activation of the surveillance system results in more careful processing. Hypotheses 3a and 3b suggest that heightened anxiety leads to learning. According to affective intelligence, the role of enthusiasm should be relatively neutral. Data collected via dynamic process tracing studies can offer insights that are unattainable by survey research or experiments that fail to account for the dynamic nature of election campaigns.

Keywords: dynamic process tracing; political campaign; political candidate; information processing; learning; anxiety; anger; affective intelligence; election campaigns

Chapter.  9651 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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