Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
Negativity in Democratic Politics: Causes and Consequences

Negativity in Democratic Politics: Causes and Consequences

by Stuart N. Soroka


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This book explores the political implications of the human tendency to prioritize negative information over positive information. Drawing on literatures in political science, psychology, economics, communications, biology, and physiology, this book argues that "negativity biases" should be evident across a wide range of political behaviors. These biases are then demonstrated through a diverse and cross-disciplinary set of analyses, for instance: in citizens' ratings of presidents and prime ministers; in aggregate-level reactions to economic news, across 17 countries; in the relationship between covers and newsmagazine sales; and in individuals' physiological reactions to network news content. The pervasiveness of negativity biases extends, this book suggests, to the functioning of political institutions - institutions that have been designed to prioritize negative information in the same way as the human brain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107636194
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 04/07/2014
Series: Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 198
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.94(h) x 0.51(d)

About the Author

Stuart N. Soroka is Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He is currently a co-investigator of the Canadian Election Study and a member of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship. Soroka's previous books are Agenda-Setting Dynamics in Canada (2003) and Degrees of Democracy: Politics, Public Opinion, and Policy (coauthored with Christopher Wlezien, Cambridge University Press, 2010). Degrees of Democracy received the Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award from the Canadian Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. His research has also been published widely in such journals as the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, the American Journal of Political Science, Political Communication, and West European Politics. Soroka sits on the editorial boards of three journals - Political Communication; the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties; and the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Table of Contents

1. On negativity; 2. Negativity in politics; 3. (Political) impression formation; 4. Economic sentiment and government approval; 5. Media content; 6. Reactions to news content.

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