Emotional Processing and
Political Judgment: Toward Integrating
Political Psychology and Decision
MICHAEL L. SPEZIO AND RALPH ADOLPHS
Political psychology and decision neuroscience are interdisciplinary fields aiming at empirically informed and testable models of human judgment and decision making. Although the contexts and scopes of the fields are not identical, they overlap considerably. Moving both fields forward while maximizing their explanatory power and conceptual coherence requires energetic multilevel development (Damasio et al. 2001; Cacioppo et al. 2000). One arena for fruitful interaction, as evidenced in the literature (Lieberman, Schreiber, and Ochsner 2003; Marcus 2000; Morris et al. 2003; Winkielman and Berridge 2003; Marcus et al. 1995) and by the contributions in this volume, is the development of models that take account of the ways emotional processes work in human judgment and decision making, especially in political decisions. Attention to the role of emotional processes is also prominent in yielding progress at the interface between neuroscience and another key decision science, behavioral economics, in the field of neuroeconomics (Sanfey et al. 2003; Camerer 2003; Glimcher 2003).
We argue that the developing field of decision neuroscience, particularly where emotional processes form an intense focus of study, offers political psychology new handles on human behavior and mentation with which to investigate political judgment and decision making. Developing this interdisciplinary effort requires a clear acknowledgment of the theoretical and methodological challenges ahead, along with strategies for answering them. In addition, we articulate a theoretical framework
We express our gratitude to Ted Brader, Milton Lodge, George Marcus, Rose McDer-
mott, Michael Neblo, Darren Schreiber, and two anonymous reviewers for very helpful
comments on an earlier draft.