HEARTS AND MINDS BUT FOR WHOM? HOW INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS AFFECT THE EXPERIENCE AND LIKELIHOOD OF EMOTION IN POLITICS
Searles, Kathleen E.
MetadataShow full item record
Though questions of how, when, and for whom affect matters are vital to understanding the effects of affect-laden political advertisements on the electorate, this area of research remains in its infancy (Lodge and Taber 2005). I address these gaps by setting forth a theoretical framework that addresses the distinct effects of anger and fear and how they vary depending on the characteristics of the individual. These ideas are tested with aggregate analyses and two survey experiments that examine how and for who affect matters. I set forth two distinct claims: first, the likelihood an individual experiences anger or fear varies with individual characteristics, and second, individual characteristics moderate the influence of anger and fear on policy evaluations in predictable ways. Also, I make the case that in a politico-psychological context emotion is best understood as conceptually discrete. Broadly, I venture the following supposition: to fully understand the reality of the democratic citizen we must also understand how individuals differ in the experience of emotion, and how these varying experiences affect political thinking. In fact, emotion may be the great democratic equalizer. If so, it may be more appropriate not for scholars to ask who will save the emotionally volatile electorate, but rather, where and how do emotions fit into the democratic process? The question then is not does emotion harm democracy, but for whom does emotion have adverse effects.