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The Ambivalent PartisanHow Critical Loyalty Promotes Democracy$
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Howard G. Lavine, Christopher D. Johnston, and Marco R. Steenbergen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199772759

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199772759.001.0001

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Getting It Right, Making It Easy, and Validating Our Partisan Commitments

Getting It Right, Making It Easy, and Validating Our Partisan Commitments

A Motivational Theory of Political Judgment

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter 2 Getting It Right, Making It Easy, and Validating Our Partisan Commitments
Source:
The Ambivalent Partisan
Author(s):

Howard G. Lavine

Christopher D. Johnston

Marco R. Steenbergen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199772759.003.0002

This chapter provides a detailed discussion of a theoretical model underlying the ambivalent partisan. The key motivational concepts of “least effort,” “sufficiency,” “belief perseverance,” and “partisan ambivalence” are introduced, and their relationship to information processing effort is explained. Specifically, when possible, citizens will default to a low-effort mode of partisan-based judgment, leading to shallow and biased reasoning. When contemporary evaluations of party performance conflict with partisan loyalty (i.e., when partisan ambivalence is experienced), however, partisanship becomes less cognitively accessible and viewed as a less reliable judgmental yardstick. Under these conditions, citizens engage in more extensive and evenhanded thought. This chapter presents a unique dual-process model of political cognition, one that integrates a broad array of literatures and places political context at the fore.

Keywords:   dual-process, information processing, ambivalence, least effort, political cognition

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