Remembering and voting: Theory and evidence from amnesic patients

Jason C. Coronel, Melissa C. Duff, David E. Warren, Kara D. Federmeier, Brian D. Gonsalves, Daniel Tranel, Neal J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

One of the most prominent claims to emerge from the field of public opinion is that citizens can vote for candidates whose issue positions best reflect their own beliefs even when they cannot remember previously learned stances associated with the candidates. The current experiment provides a unique and powerful examination of this claim by determining whether individuals with profound amnesia, whose severe memory impairments prevent them from remembering specific issue information associated with any particular candidate, can vote for candidates whose issue positions come closest to their own political views. We report here that amnesic patients, despite not being able to remember any issue information, consistently voted for candidates with favored political positions. Thus, sound voting decisions do not require recall or recognition of previously learned associations between candidates and their issue positions. This result supports a multiple memory systems model of political decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-848
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Volume56
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2012

Fingerprint

voting
candidacy
evidence
voter
political decision making
system model
public opinion
citizen
examination
experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Remembering and voting : Theory and evidence from amnesic patients. / Coronel, Jason C.; Duff, Melissa C.; Warren, David E.; Federmeier, Kara D.; Gonsalves, Brian D.; Tranel, Daniel; Cohen, Neal J.

In: American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 56, No. 4, 01.10.2012, p. 837-848.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Coronel, Jason C. ; Duff, Melissa C. ; Warren, David E. ; Federmeier, Kara D. ; Gonsalves, Brian D. ; Tranel, Daniel ; Cohen, Neal J. / Remembering and voting : Theory and evidence from amnesic patients. In: American Journal of Political Science. 2012 ; Vol. 56, No. 4. pp. 837-848.
@article{c608605b922b4a0583f0585b54ccca92,
title = "Remembering and voting: Theory and evidence from amnesic patients",
abstract = "One of the most prominent claims to emerge from the field of public opinion is that citizens can vote for candidates whose issue positions best reflect their own beliefs even when they cannot remember previously learned stances associated with the candidates. The current experiment provides a unique and powerful examination of this claim by determining whether individuals with profound amnesia, whose severe memory impairments prevent them from remembering specific issue information associated with any particular candidate, can vote for candidates whose issue positions come closest to their own political views. We report here that amnesic patients, despite not being able to remember any issue information, consistently voted for candidates with favored political positions. Thus, sound voting decisions do not require recall or recognition of previously learned associations between candidates and their issue positions. This result supports a multiple memory systems model of political decision making.",
author = "Coronel, {Jason C.} and Duff, {Melissa C.} and Warren, {David E.} and Federmeier, {Kara D.} and Gonsalves, {Brian D.} and Daniel Tranel and Cohen, {Neal J.}",
year = "2012",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1540-5907.2012.00608.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "56",
pages = "837--848",
journal = "American Journal of Political Science",
issn = "0092-5853",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Remembering and voting

T2 - Theory and evidence from amnesic patients

AU - Coronel, Jason C.

AU - Duff, Melissa C.

AU - Warren, David E.

AU - Federmeier, Kara D.

AU - Gonsalves, Brian D.

AU - Tranel, Daniel

AU - Cohen, Neal J.

PY - 2012/10/1

Y1 - 2012/10/1

N2 - One of the most prominent claims to emerge from the field of public opinion is that citizens can vote for candidates whose issue positions best reflect their own beliefs even when they cannot remember previously learned stances associated with the candidates. The current experiment provides a unique and powerful examination of this claim by determining whether individuals with profound amnesia, whose severe memory impairments prevent them from remembering specific issue information associated with any particular candidate, can vote for candidates whose issue positions come closest to their own political views. We report here that amnesic patients, despite not being able to remember any issue information, consistently voted for candidates with favored political positions. Thus, sound voting decisions do not require recall or recognition of previously learned associations between candidates and their issue positions. This result supports a multiple memory systems model of political decision making.

AB - One of the most prominent claims to emerge from the field of public opinion is that citizens can vote for candidates whose issue positions best reflect their own beliefs even when they cannot remember previously learned stances associated with the candidates. The current experiment provides a unique and powerful examination of this claim by determining whether individuals with profound amnesia, whose severe memory impairments prevent them from remembering specific issue information associated with any particular candidate, can vote for candidates whose issue positions come closest to their own political views. We report here that amnesic patients, despite not being able to remember any issue information, consistently voted for candidates with favored political positions. Thus, sound voting decisions do not require recall or recognition of previously learned associations between candidates and their issue positions. This result supports a multiple memory systems model of political decision making.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84867233871&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84867233871&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2012.00608.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1540-5907.2012.00608.x

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84867233871

VL - 56

SP - 837

EP - 848

JO - American Journal of Political Science

JF - American Journal of Political Science

SN - 0092-5853

IS - 4

ER -