Individual Heterogeneity in Emotional Priming
Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 5 Sep 2011
Date Written: 2011
There is substantial evidence that voters' preferences can be shifted by emotional priming, but the mechanisms through which the priming effects operate are not well understood. We measure emotional reactions to priming stimuli in terms of skin conductance, respiration, and electrocardiography and we show that the strength of an individual's reaction helps predict the extent to which their political beliefs and policy preferences will be shifted by the stimuli. This provides strong evidence that emotional priming effects cannot be fully explained as biased cognition, and that emotional processing systems play a clear role.
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