Introduction to Political Psychology

By Martha Cottam; Beth Dietz-Uhler et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
Voting, Role of the
Media, and Tolerance

How do Americans think and feel about politics? The political thoughts and feelings of the American public have been the subject of intense and prolific research since the 1950s. Questions such as, How sophisticated is the public about politics and democratic ideals? How much attention do Americans pay to political information? How do people process and use information (particularly during electoral campaigns)? and How do Americans make decisions when deciding for whom to vote? have been important in political psychology. In addition, political psychologists have been interested in the impact of the media on American political thinking.

Another important question raised by political psychologists about American political beliefs concerns the issue of how tolerant Americans are of views contrary to their own. Needless to say, in a democracy this is an extremely important matter, because democratic ideals hinge upon the notion that even very unpopular views may be expressed without fear of reprisal or repression. This chapter looks at some of the findings and controversies in political psychology regarding the political attitudes of ordinary American citizens. The Political Being in this chapter is an average citizen. We focus primarily upon the attitudes and cognition component of their mind and the us part of the political environment: We are looking at the Political Being in the context of politics at home in the United States (and Britain).

We begin with some concepts, then turn to the classic study by the Michigan school of thought on the nature of American political attitudes and sophistication. We then consider some critics of the Michigan school's perspective. From that topic, we turn to studies of how people process information during campaigns and how their feelings affect for whom they decide to vote. We then discuss the media in American politics, political socialization in the United States, and political tolerance in America, all of which are important topics in studies of public opinion. After that we compare American political attitudes with those in Great Britain. To begin, let us review some of the central concepts analysts use to study public opinion.


BELIEFS, VALUES, IDEOLOGY, ATTITUDES,
AND SCHEMAS

In chapter 3, the term beliefs was defined as associations people create between an object and its attributes (Eagly & Chaiken, 1998). Another useful definition of beliefs is “cognitive components that make up our understanding of the way things are” (Glynn, Herbst, O'Keefe, Shapiro, 1999, p. 104). When beliefs are clustered together, we call it a belief system. Most Americans, for example, have a belief system about democracy that includes such beliefs as “Free speech is a necessity, “The people have a right to decide who holds political power, and “All citizens should have the right to vote.

Values are closely related, but have an ideal component. Beliefs reflect what we think is true; values reflect what we wish to see come about, even if it is not currently true. Rokeach (1973)

-125-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Introduction to Political Psychology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 343

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.