The emotional citizen: emotion as a function of political sophistication Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Miller, Patrick Ryan
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Emotion is often stereotyped as a crutch that less informed and less engaged citizens rely upon in their political decision-making in place of hard fact and reasoned thought. This dissertation reexamines that stereotype, and instead argues that political sophistication is positively related to being emotional about politics. Thus, citizens who are more politically knowledgeable and engaged should be more emotional about political stimuli. Chapter 1 discusses emotion from a psychological perspective, linking theories from that field to work in political science. Chapter 2 presents my sophistication theory and tests it on individual-level survey data dealing with emotional appraisals of presidential candidates. I further test my theory with response paradata from an original web-based survey. Chapter 3 discusses the interaction of sophistication and information context. I show that high sophisticates are more responsive to emotional appeals in campaign advertising, and that emotions are a stronger influence on their voting and attitude expression than for low sophisticates. Chapter 4 reconceptualizes information context as the emotional cues in traditional news media. I show that high sophisticates are more responsive to emotional cueing, and that emotion biases the learning of high sophisticates more than that of low sophisticates. Thus, high sophisticates are more emotional about politics, more responsive to emotional cues in the world around them, and more prone to act on their emotions in their political behavior.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Political Science."
  • Conover, Pamela
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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