With increasing interest in the role of emotions in politics across the discipline, we review theoretical and methodological approaches utilized by political psychologists. Although theorists have been highlighting the role of emotions in politics for thousands of years, modern political psychologists primarily employ Marcus, Neuman, and MacKuen's (2000) affective intelligence theory to grapple with the consequences of emotions for political attitudes and behavior. We present results from a formal meta-analytic assessment exploring the strength of the empirical evidence for the relationship between emotions and political information search and decision strategies. Overall, we find weak but statistically reliable evidence linking anger, anxiety, and enthusiasm to information search when search is self-reported, but when information search is objectively measured, we find no link between it and anxiety or enthusiasm. Surprisingly, we also find little reliable evidence linking emotions to differential reliance on heuristics or more evidence-based criteria in voter decision-making.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations