Individual Heterogeneity in Emotional Priming

Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 5 Sep 2011

See all articles by Peter Foley

Peter Foley

California Institute of Technology

R. Michael Alvarez

California Institute of Technology

Ralph Adolphs

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Foley, Peter and Alvarez, R. Michael and Adolphs, Ralph, Individual Heterogeneity in Emotional Priming (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1902875

Peter Foley (Contact Author)

California Institute of Technology ( email )

Pasadena, CA 91125
United States

R. Michael Alvarez

California Institute of Technology ( email )

Department of Humanities and Social Science M/C 228-77
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States
626-395-4422 (Phone)

Ralph Adolphs

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

1200 East California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States

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