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How are impressions about political candidates organized in memory? What is the nature of political group stereotypes? How do citizens make voting decisions? How do citizens formulate opinions about key issues and policies? The contributors to Political Judgment: Structure and Process reach answers to these questions that will substantially influence how the next generation of scholars working at the intersection of political science and psychology, and public opinion researchers more generally, goes about its work.
The editors have organized the book into two sections. The first chapters are concerned with the representation of various types of political information in memory (e.g. candidates, political groups, and attitudes). The final chapters are concerned with the dynamics of political information processing, all specifying in detail the cognitive processes that produce a political response, be it the evaluation of a political candidate, a vote choice, or articulation of an issue preference. In addition to an exploration of these important substantive questions, Political Judgment is unique in bringing together a whole array of new methodological techniques—including reaction times, computational modeling, and process tracing—which have the potential to alter the way that political scientists approach the research enterprise.
The contributors excel at making complex topics clear. Representatives of mainstream and more recent approaches coexist in this volume to present the reader with a good understanding of what political psychologists know about political information processing as a whole. On a broader level, the editors underscore the controversies illuminated by the work presented here as a way of identifying areas for future research.