Political psychology at stony brook: A retrospective

Jason C. Coronel, James H. Kuklinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the 1970s and 1980s, political psychologists at the State University of New York at Stony Brook focused political scientists' attention on online processing. Borrowing from the new field of social cognition in psychology, they argued that voters' evaluations of candidates are the products of a summing up of reactions to happenings during a campaign. Voters might not remember the specific events later on, but their running tallies of reactions over the duration of the campaign would ensure that they take the forgotten information into account when entering the voting booth. Later, these same scholars yet again borrowed from (a very changed) psychology, and argued that many people, especially the most politically sophisticated, try to confirm their current political evaluations-for example, by seeking out confirmatory evidence and dismissing evidence that challenges their attitudes. We ask whether online processing and motivated reasoning have the same or different implications for democratic governance, and whether the two empirical perspectives can be reconciled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-198
Number of pages14
JournalCritical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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