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The Primacy of Affect in Political Evaluations

The Primacy of Affect in Political Evaluations

Chapter:
(p.101) Chapter Five The Primacy of Affect in Political Evaluations
Source:
The Affect Effect
Author(s):
Dan CassinoMilton Lodge
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226574431.003.0005

This chapter evaluates how emotion and, in particular, affect serve to organize the mind, and reviews existing research concerning the ways this organization leads to bias at all stages of the evaluative process. It then applies a simple experimental study to show how the process outlined leads individuals to integrate information about a political candidate. The consequences of these theories for political science and for psychology in general are reported. Emotion certainly serves to alter the course of the evaluative process but, in doing so, may make it more, not less, efficient. The capacity of the individual to overcome biases by memory-based processing should be short-lived, and judgments based on potentially flawed emotional responses should become dominant. It is noted that affect may be more efficient than other means of processing, and may be the only avenue open for many citizens.

Keywords:   emotion, affect, mind, political science, psychology, judgments, memory-based processing

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