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Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226504698
ISBN-10: 0226504697
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Although the rational choice approach toward political behavior has been severely criticized, its adherents claim that competing models have failed to offer a more scientific model of political decisionmaking. This measured but provocative book offers precisely that: an alternative way of understanding political behavior based on cognitive research.

The authors draw on research in neuroscience, physiology, and experimental psychology to conceptualize habit and reason as two mental states that interact in a delicate, highly functional balance controlled by emotion. Applying this approach to more than fifteen years of election results, they shed light on a wide range of political behavior, including party identification, symbolic politics, and negative campaigning.

About the Author

George E. Marcus is a professor of political science at Williams College.

W. Russell Neuman is a professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and director of the Information and Society Program, Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael MacKuen is the Burton Craige professor of political science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226504697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226504698
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #860,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Mark B. Cohen on June 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
For many generations, both academia in various disciplines and journalism in the news and editorial departments have widely adhered to the idea that the ideal citizen is detached, disinterested, and well-informed. This ideal has persisted despite the generally observable phenomenon that people who are detached or disinterested very frequently lack the motivation to become well-informed.

The authors of this book--two professors of political science and one professor of communications--seek to rehabilitate the reputation of those political actors who are motivated in significant part by an emotional commitment to one vision or another of significant societal improvement. They succeed admirably. No one who reads and studies this book will look at the politically passionate the same way again.

"So when do we think about politics?" the authors ask. "When our emotions tell us to," they answer. "We posit that individuals monitor political affairs by responding habitually, and for the most part unthinkingly, to familiar and expected political symbols, that is, by relying on past thought, calculation, and evaluation. But the central claim of our theory is that when citizens encounter a novel or threatening actor, event or issue on the political horizon, a process of fresh evaluation and political judgment is required."

The authors revise the traditional research paradigm. Political attentiveness, generally thought to be static in frequency, is seen as dynamic, along with affect, or feeling. Concepts of attitudes and party affiliation--traditionally thought of as having both thoughtful and habitual elements--are seen instead as being merely dominated by habitual behavior.
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This is an informative, thoughtful, academic presentation of a model of political judgement that may compete with the rational choice model that has dominated political science.

The authors present a model whereby two domains or process facilitate decision making, a rational deliberative domain and a threat surveilance domain. Politicians must appeal to both domains when conducting a campaign. In the area of the rational deliverative domain, the politician must build enthusiams for their leadership while reducing the enthusiams for the leadership of their opponent. At the same time, the threat surveilance domain must be activated, creating anxiety. Thus a successful campaign must ensure that anxiety about the candidate is kept at a minimum while raising anxiety about the other candidate. This model would explain why negative campaigns work and have become a standard operating procedure in political life.

The model also explains that whereas the deliberative logical rational aspect of measuring political opponents may be appropriate for a subset of our society, that other subsets in the society will not respond to political stimuli and information unless it is formulated in a way to raise anxiety.

This approach would indicate that we can not divorce emotion from reason and that successful political campaigns recognize this and develop a multiple strategy approach to influence the processes of voter enthusiasm or lack thereof or of anxiety or lack thereof.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a great insight into how the heart and mind come to shape our political opinions. We have been told for far too long that using only our minds and reason were acceptable. However, this book points out in a number of positions that making decisions based on opinions works well. This is somewhat startling to most political scientists because they have always held it as gospel that emotions were a negative factor, and knowledge to be desired. This author shows how that view is very limited in nature. Anyway, it is a scholarly book, but one that reads very well. Get it and enjoy!!!
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