Distinguished Univeristy Professor

Department of Political Science
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, N.Y. 11794-4392
(631) 632-7663 (office)
(631) 632-4116 (fax)

Curriculum Vitae

Google Scholar Page

My current work is in the development and testing of a dual-process model of political beliefs, attitudes, and behavior. This model essentially makes the claim that all thinking, feeling, reasoning, and action has an automatic component as well as a conscious cognitive component. I am especially interested in the impact of implicit affect on political judgments and evaluations. This research is based on experiments employing an attitude-priming paradigm, which allows us to test three basic hypotheses:

  1. The primacy of affect, testing the notion that affective responses to strong attitudinal objects (political leaders, groups, and issues) enter into the judgment process before any cognitive considerations that consciously define the object.
  2. The automaticity of affect. Affective responses to political leaders, groups, and issues can be (and are typically) activated spontaneously, that is, triggered even if the individual is not consciously engaged in making an evaluation, and this immediate response – whether thought, feeling, or action – once triggered is carried through without conscious monitoring.
  3. The Affective Contagion Effect, where we show that unnoticed affectively congruent cues in the immediate environment (a smiley face) facilitates responding to liked candidates, groups, and issues, while such negative primes as a frowning face inhibit such responses. Taken together, these effects challenge virtually all our models of how citizens form and update their evaluations of political leaders, groups, and issues.



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