International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Affective Influences and Correct Voting

Cengiz Erisen, TOBB-University of Economics and Technology

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: TOBB-University of Economics and Technology
Research Area: Political decision making

This paper outlines a new approach to voting behavior. The paper shows that correctness of vote choice is strongly influenced by the affective influences in one’s environment.
Earlier research has shown the influence of unnoticed affective primes on political thinking, reasoning, and behavior (Erisen, Lodge & Taber, 2008, 2009). Findings across several studies consistently show how preconscious affect intervenes and alters thoughts, promotes an affect-elicited reasoning, and changes political attitudes and policy evaluations. However, the phenomenon of voting behavior was left unexplored from the standpoint of affective influences.
In this paper I take a further step and outline a new approach to voting behavior. The paper shows that correctness of vote choice (Lau & Redlawsk, 2006, 2008) is strongly influenced by the affective influences in one’s environment.
Through an experiment design I was able to tease out the effects of affective influences on voting decisions. In three of the five treatment conditions the effect of negative, positive, and the control group affective primes are controlled whether they promote correct voting or not.
Findings suggest that subtle affective changes would alter the sequence of thoughts that one would retrieve from short term memory which in turn change one’s decision on a presidential candidate.