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Cambridge Studies in Public Opinion and Political Psychology
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Table of Contents

1. On negativity; 2. Negativity in politics; 3. (Political) impression formation; 4. Economic sentiment and government approval; 5. Media content; 6. Reactions to news content.

Promotional Information

This book explores the political implications of the human tendency to prioritize negative information over positive information.

About the Author

Stuart N. Soroka is Associate Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Political Science at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He is currently a co-investigator of the Canadian Election Study and a member of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship. Soroka's previous books are Agenda-Setting Dynamics in Canada (2003) and Degrees of Democracy: Politics, Public Opinion, and Policy (coauthored with Christopher Wlezien, Cambridge University Press, 2010). Degrees of Democracy received the Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award from the Canadian Politics Section of the American Political Science Association. His research has also been published widely in such journals as the Journal of Politics, the British Journal of Political Science, the American Journal of Political Science, Political Communication, and West European Politics. Soroka sits on the editorial boards of three journals - Political Communication; the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties; and the Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Reviews

'Soroka has produced a masterly analysis of the impact of negativity, beginning with psychology, microeconomics and neuroscience, and then focusing on the field of politics. His tour de force ranges from evaluations of, and voting for, individual politicians, to government approval, media and news impact, and political institutions. In fascinating detail he then shows that all is not lost and draws out some positive consequences of this negativity bias, which may well be an effective way to manage democratic governance.' Miles Hewstone, University of Oxford
'This surprisingly optimistic take on the role of negativity in the political process provides a clear and engaging analysis of how and why people interpret and use negative information in unique, important, and often useful ways. Analyzing a wide array of empirical evidence from presidential assessments to media content across seventeen countries, Stuart Soroka provides a truly comprehensive portrait of negativity within the political domain. In so doing, he situates the extensive psychological and biological literature on negativity within a political context, providing a novel and convincing interpretation for the self-containing role it plays in supporting democratic institutions.' Rose McDermott, Brown University
'I enjoyed reading Negativity in Democratic Politics not only because of its subject matter but also because it triggered many new research questions and ideas in my mind. So, it will trigger the reader's creative thinking. Moreover, it would be a great addition to graduate syllabi in political behavior, political psychology, and communications illustrating convincingly how negativity operates in different domains of political life. Overall, I felt that reading the book is time well spent, and I plan to consult it whenever I should write on an overarching issue from multiple angles.' Elif Erisen, Journal of Politics
'Negativity in American media and politics, as Riker's account of the debate to ratify the American Constitution demonstrates, long precedes Watergate and Cable TV. Soroka's convincing alternative to structural and cultural explanations of negativity suggests that is exactly as it should be.' Jonathan Sullivan, Taiwan Journal of Democracy
'The thesis of Soroka's book is well supported with a variety of data: negativity bias exists in politics, both in how individuals react to negative information and in how news organizations cover politics ... Soroka does a commendable job illustrating that negativity bias exists in politics, both in how individuals react to negative information and in how news organizations cover politics.' Ashley Muddiman, Political Communication
"Soroka has produced a masterly analysis of the impact of negativity, beginning with psychology, microeconomics and neuroscience, and then focusing on the field of politics. His tour de force ranges from evaluations of, and voting for, individual politicians, to government approval, media and news impact, and political institutions. In fascinating detail he then shows that all is not lost and draws out some positive consequences of this negativity bias, which may well be an effective way to manage democratic governance." Miles Hewstone, University of Oxford
"This surprisingly optimistic take on the role of negativity in the political process provides a clear and engaging analysis of how and why people interpret and use negative information in unique, important, and often useful ways. Analyzing a wide array of empirical evidence from presidential assessments to media content across seventeen countries, Stuart Soroka provides a truly comprehensive portrait of negativity within the political domain. In so doing, he situates the extensive psychological and biological literature on negativity within a political context, providing a novel and convincing interpretation for the self-containing role it plays in supporting democratic institutions." Rose McDermott, Brown University
"I enjoyed reading Negativity in Democratic Politics not only because of its subject matter but also because it triggered many new research questions and ideas in my mind. So, it will trigger the reader's creative thinking. Moreover, it would be a great addition to graduate syllabi in political behavior, political psychology, and communications illustrating convincingly how negativity operates in different domains of political life. Overall, I felt that reading the book is time well spent, and I plan to consult it whenever I should write on an overarching issue from multiple angles." Elif Erisen, Journal of Politics
"Negativity in American media and politics, as Riker's account of the debate to ratify the American Constitution demonstrates, long precedes Watergate and Cable TV. Soroka's convincing alternative to structural and cultural explanations of negativity suggests that is exactly as it should be." Jonathan Sullivan, Taiwan Journal of Democracy
"The thesis of Soroka's book is well supported with a variety of data: negativity bias exists in politics, both in how individuals react to negative information and in how news organizations cover politics ... Soroka does a commendable job illustrating that negativity bias exists in politics, both in how individuals react to negative information and in how news organizations cover politics." Ashley Muddiman, Political Communication

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