Affective Intelligence or Personality? State vs. Trait Influences on Citizens' Use of Political Information
41 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 31 Aug 2010
Date Written: 2010
Employing a specially designed survey experiment with a large sample size and extensive measurement batteries, we examine and contrast the roles played by personality traits and emotional states in shaping political attention, openness to new ideas, and an inclination toward cooperation. Of particular concern is the possibility that the evident emotional effects on citizens' information processing might be a proxy for underlying and unexamined personality traits. The study utilizes a simulated news story on terrorist threats and assesses emotional reactions and choices about political attention, steadfastness of views, and an inclination toward compromise. We find that extant personality traits do play a role in patterns of political response, but controlling for those effects does not reduce or reverse the predicted emotional state effects predicted by Affective Intelligence Theory.
Keywords: emotion, personality, public opinion
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