Taming Intuition: How Reflection Minimizes Partisan Reasoning and Promotes Democratic Accountability

Taming Intuition: How Reflection Minimizes Partisan Reasoning and Promotes Democratic Accountability

By: Ryan J. Vander Wielen (author), Kevin Arceneaux (author)Paperback

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The success of democratic governance hinges on an electorate's ability to reward elected officials who act faithfully and punish those who do not. Yet there is considerable variation among voters in their ability to objectively evaluate representatives' performance. In this book the authors develop a theoretical model, the Intuitionist Model of Political Reasoning, which posits that this variation across voters is the result of individual differences in the predisposition to reflect on and to override partisan impulses. Individuals differ in partisan intuitions resulting from the strength of their attachments to parties, as well as the degree to which they are willing to engage in the cognitively taxing process of evaluating those intuitions. The balance of these forces - the strength of intuitions and the willingness to second guess one's self - determines the extent to which individuals update their assessments of political parties and elected officials in a rational manner.

About Author

Kevin Arceneaux is Professor of Political Science, Faculty Affiliate with the Institute for Public Affairs, and Director of the Behavioral Foundations Lab at Temple University. He studies political psychology and political communication, focusing on how the interaction between political messages and people's political predispositions shapes attitudes and behavior. He is co-author of Changing Minds or Changing Channels (2013), which investigates the influence of ideologically slanted news programming and received the 2014 Goldsmith Book Prize from Harvard University. His work has also been published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Politics, and elsewhere. Ryan J. Vander Wielen is Associate Professor of Political Science and (by courtesy) Economics, and Faculty Affiliate with the Behavioral Foundations Lab at Temple University, Philadelphia. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of American political institutions, political behavior, quantitative methodology, and formal modeling. His work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Analysis, Public Choice, and elsewhere. He is also the co-author of Politics Over Process (forthcoming), The American Congress (Cambridge, 2013), and The American Congress Reader (Cambridge, 2008).


1. Democratic accountability and the 'rational' citizen; 2. A theory of individual differences in reflection and the intuitionist model of political reasoning; 3. Measuring individual differences in reflection; 4. Toeing the line: partisan identities and policy attitudes; 5. Throwing the rascals out: partisan identities and political evaluations; 6. Can't we disagree without being disagreeable? The role of reflection in a polarized polity; 7. Reflections on the role of reflection in democracies; Appendix. Details of empirical studies and statistical analyses;

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781108400312
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 260
  • ID: 9781108400312
  • weight: 400
  • ISBN10: 1108400310

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