Political Psychology Essay 2



Emotions in politics




Emotional appeals are essential to politics which is demonstrated through the use of political campaigns. However, there is no existing evidence whether the strategies used to deliver emotional appeals are informed by either professional norms or the researches conducted in the impact of emotions on politics. Campaign professionals, as well as executives, are essentials to the understanding of political behavior and attitudes. Recently, studies focusing on political feelings unlike in the previous eras where feelings were largely ignored. This article strives to evaluate a political emotions theory refers to as the approach-avoidance theory. The report will critically reflect on the theoretical approaches to politics and emotions. The report will strive to determine ways in which emotions shape decision making, attention, action, and attitudes in political realm. The researcher aims to develop a hypothesis and use the information obtained from the study to test the credibility of the hypothesis.


If a person develops a positive affection towards politics, then they are motivated to participate in politics by the perceived rewards. But when they develop adverse affection toward politics, they refrain from the politic due to fear of punishment making them avoid engaging in political activities.

Approach-Avoidance Theories

Affection helps to solve the problem of the approach and avoidance. Affection refers to simple valences of assessed circumstances or stimuli that are either punished or rewarded. Affects is a critical aspect to the identification of rewards which justify the approach or punishing that is demonstrated by warranting avoidance. In the modern attitude notion, liking and disliking constitute a critical affective dimension of the attitude (Brader & Marcus, 2013). Besides, somatic markers portray the automatic preconscious signals facilitates the decision making by differentiating between good and bad in the environment based on past associations. Political psychologist embraces the hot cognitions approaches that motivate reasoning to affection seen in the decisive initial assessment of the reward and punishment.

Scholars have used the approach to demonstrate the convenient and useful means of simplifying their affective experience. Researchers have conducted both implicit and explicit attitudes such as political candidates, political parties and racial groups, that focuses on the positive-negative dimensions of the affection. The results obtained by researchers reveal that the use of simple valence dimensions does not describe the affective subject in a credible manner (Brader & Marcus, 2013). Scholars have identified that the use of diverse approaches to the study is useful in making more excellent differentiations of emotions. The relaxation of the reliance on single approach-avoidances concepts of emotions help in accommodating the new knowledge about multifaceted and complex characters if the appraisals which are either preconscious or post-awareness.

The theory examines the relationship between behavioral and emotions by measuring arousal, pleasure, and opportunity to obtain dominance encountered during the interaction with politics. The pleasure obtained is evaluated through the feeling of ranging between unhappiness and ecstasy. Stimuli obtained include the sense of preferences towards positive reinforcement, satisfaction, and contentment. Approach-avoidance theory states that the combination of arousal, pleasure, and opportunity influences the response of individuals to politics (Robinson, Boyd, Bresin, & Ode, 2014).

The Significance of the theory

The theory is used to explain political psychology which is measured through a scale combining self-reported feelings which include emotions such as hopeful, enthusiastic, happy and proud. The increase in these interests in the processes of politics motivates people to engage in political actions and also strengthen their reliance on previous conviction when making political choices. Political psychologist used the theory to devote minimal efforts in uncovering their antecedents of political consequences emotions over the effects. Experiments have helped in identifying sources of political enthusiasm which include substantive sources such as stories of desired policies, the impact of the positive economy on social trend and the influence of one’s party in voting to poll. Enthusiasm triggers more superficial ways such as use of uplifting music, smiles of the charismatic politician and the imagery of feel-good during campaigns and advertisement (Brader & Marcus, 2013).

Efforts have also been put in place by the researcher to differentiate positive emotions. People associate pride with strong impulses; hence particular motivation of people put their accomplishment and views on display through discussion, wearing or posting of political messages. Self-conscious emotions distinguish pride by identifying the relationship between feeling shame and guilt.

However, Individuals may experience approach-avoidance conflicts which arise when one goal of politics consists of both positive and negative impact. In such a situation the person is impacted to approach and avoidance reactions at a similar time; hence the person is required to resolve the conflict before proceeding with the decisions (Gewirth, 2016). For instance, involvement in politic may trouble family relationships whereby family members many conflict due to different affiliations; hence one faces a dilemma between following personal interest and family stability.

Impact of the theory to the hypothesis

The information obtained from the approach helps in identifying the importance of the argument in the research hypotheses. The information helps in approving or rejecting the hypothesis based on the secondary data obtained. The data collected from other researchers reveals that the theory supports the existing relationship between affection and politics. Involvement in politics is determined by the ability of social action to result in rewards or punishments. Thus, those who develop positive affection proceed with politic and those with negative emotions refrain from politics due to fear of punishment.

Hypothesis testing

The hypothesis will be tested using statistical methods whereby correlation analysis will be used. Correlation analysis help in analyzing the strength of two relationships that are between emotions and politics. The technique is appropriate because it is a cause-effect analysis method that strives to determine the reliability of the hypothesis.


Emotions and politics go hand in hand. The feelings developed by an individual towards politic determine their role and participating in political events. Politicians have identified the role played by emotion in polls; hence they use motions in persuading individuals to vote for them. For instance, the type of adverts and campaign embraced are those demonstrating rewards to the subordinate. Therefore, when people develop positive affection towards a politician or politics, they engage in politics due to affections develop but when they fear about the punishment accompanying politics they choose to stay away.


Brader, T., & Marcus, G. E. (2013). Emotion and Political Psychology. Oxford: Oxford Handbooks online.

Gewirth, A. (2016). The Political Community: A Study of Anomies. Ethics, Vol 59(3), 211-220.

Robinson, M., Boyd, R., Bresin, K., & Ode, S. (2014). The Self’s Symbolic Role in Implicit Approach/Avoidance: Movement Time Evidence. Journal of Social Psychology, Vol 154(4), 311-322.

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