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Emotion and political cognition: A test of bipolar, two-dimensional, and discrete models of emotion in predicting involvement and learning

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This study assesses the usefulness of voters' emotions toward presidential candidates in predicting voter attitudes toward, involvement with, and learning of the candidates' statements at a debate. Three different models of the effects of emotions, including the bipolar model, Marcus and MacKuen's (1993) two-dimensional model, and a discrete emotions model were tested for their efficacy in predicting the responses of 81 participants who watched the 2000 Presidential Debate at Wake Forest University. Overall, the bipolar model in which positive and negative emotion terms fall along one continuum of affective valence was most consistent with the data. With regard to both presidential candidates, the more positive the emotion felt toward the candidate, the more positive the voters' attitudes were toward that candidate. Likewise, attitudes predicted greater involvement with the candidates, which subsequently predicted greater learning from the candidate at the debate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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