The Affect Effect: Dynamics of Emotion in Political Thinking and Behavior

By W. Russell Neuman; George E. Marcus et al. | Go to book overview

PART IV
Next Steps in Research
and Outreach

The three chapters in the final part all adopt an integrative perspective on the arguments raised thus far but do so from three different perspectives.

First up are Lupia and Menning, who take a global view of affective politics from the perspective of game theory. They posit that many readers might be initially skeptical that game theorists and political psychologists would have much to say to one another because they would seem to define two poles on a continuum from conscious and calculated goaloriented cognition to subconscious emotionality. But they make a convincing case, reminding us that most definitions of emotion derive from notions of the frustration of or success at goal-oriented behavior. Indeed, in chapter 1 we introduced a definition of affect as the evolved cognitive and physiological response to the detection of personal significance. So, setting aside the cultural stereotypes of affect as impulsive irrationality, the two traditions do not appear to be so distant. Alas, Lupia and Menning point out, scholars in these fields very seldom cite one another. But this chapter makes a strong and persuasive case that they should.

Think of game theory as more of a method of inquiry than a body of theory, they suggest. The tradition of game theoretic modeling requires clarity about both assumptions and ramifications that permit replication, which in turn “can reduce misunderstanding, increase the efficiency of scholarly debates, and hasten the accumulation of knowledge.” It is hard to argue with those aspirations. As game theory expands into much more sophisticated modeling in which agents no longer are assumed to have perfect information, the relevance for political science in general and political psychology in particular becomes increasingly evident.

Next up is Dan Schnur, who, as a teacher of campaign politics and an active practitioner of the black art of campaign consulting, bridges

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