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Presentation Master's thesis - Benjamin Jargow - social psychology

Laatst gewijzigd op 06-06-2024 11:36
Hope and Nostalgia Affect Voters Inferences About and Endorsement of Politicians
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18-06-2024 11:00
18-06-2024 12:00

Roeterseilandcampus - Building G, Street: Nieuwe Achtergracht 129-B, Room: GS.08

"Yes, we can" were the famous words of Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign; "Make America Great Again" the words of Donald Trump in his campaign 2016. While the progressive Obama expressed hope for the future, the conservative Trump expressed nostalgia for the past. In general, hope and nostalgia appear as two opposing political emotions. But what does that mean for their expressions in the political arena? In three between-subject experiments, we examined the effects of hope and nostalgia on voters' inferences about and endorsement of politicians. Building on principles of Emotion as Social Information Theory, we hypothesised that hope and nostalgia provide voters with clues about the political orientation of a politician and whether the politician shares their values. We expected that inferences have downstream consequences on voting intention. Indeed, our participants rated a fictive politician as more conservative when the politician expressed nostalgia (vs hope). In some studies, participants also indicated significantly higher voting intentions for the politician when this inferred political orientation was similar to theirs (what we call political congruence). Furthermore, participants indicated higher voting intentions when their hope or nostalgia coincided with a respective emotional expression of the politician (emotional congruence). This effect was statistically mediated by inferences on value similarity. However, an experimental test for causal mediation through a blocking intervention did not yield significant results. Our studies provide evidence for the informational value of emotional expressions in the political realm and suggest starting points for future research in this area.