The hot cognition hypothesis

‘The brain is primarily for feeling, not thinking’: Gut instincts drive voting and election campaigns

After the 1974 election returned Pierre Trudeau to majority governance in his third term, a distinguished group of political scientists got together to figure out what the heck just happened. At the time, the Liberal Party had won seven of ten general elections since the Second World War, forming the government continuously for a decade, and its share of the vote varied, on average, less than 5%. Party loyalty seemed stable, but also possibly stagnant; then, suddenly, the vote had swung, after a closely-fought campaign on the dreary topic of inflation. To explain this, the researchers identified a large and diverse group known as “flexible partisans,” whose party loyalty was either unstable, inconsistent or weak. ….[READ]


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