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The Affect EffectDynamics of Emotion in Political Thinking and Behavior$
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George E. Marcus, W. Russell Neuman, and Michael MacKuen

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226574417

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226574431.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Political Cognition as Social Cognition: Are We All Political Sophisticates?

Political Cognition as Social Cognition: Are We All Political Sophisticates?

(p.48) Chapter Three Political Cognition as Social Cognition: Are We All Political Sophisticates?
The Affect Effect

Darren Schreiber

University of Chicago Press

This chapter, which introduces Aristotle's arguments about human nature and Niccolo Machiavelli's thoughts about how human intelligence developed with the need to be more politically astute than one's rivals, hypothesizes about the neural architecture needed by people to navigate everyday political life. The kinds of political cognition that political scientists usually study, namely, thoughts about values, policies, coalitions, and leaders on the state, national, or international level, have co-opted the mental apparatus evolved for solving the problems of “everyday politics.” The development of the mirror neuron has been a critical early step in the direction of Machiavellian intelligence. The capacities for theory of mind and for social evaluation enable fruitful political cognition in the context of everyday politics. Accounting for the biological foundations of political attitudes can lead to conceptualizations that are richer in their implications for moral thinking and more familiar because they comport with the everyday experience.

Keywords:   political cognition, Aristotle, human nature, Niccolo Machiavelli, human intelligence, mirror neuron, Machiavellian intelligence, theory of mind, everyday politics

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