Negativity in the Evaluation of Political Candidates

EXTENDED ABSTRACT - The most well accepted explanation for the negativity effect (greater weighting of negatives as compared to positives in the formation of overall evaluations) in the political domain is the perceptual figure-ground theory (also known as the salience explanation or the expectancy-contrast explanation, Fiske 1980; Klein 1991, 1996). This theory is based on the argument that people generally exhibit a Aperson positivity bias@ whereby they have positive expectations of others (Sears 1983), including political candidates, and negatives contrast against these expectations. From Anderson’s (1981) cognitive algebra theory through to the figure-ground explanation, non-motivational explanations for negativity dominate.


Jill G. Klein and Rohini Ahluwalia (2005) ,"Negativity in the Evaluation of Political Candidates", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32, eds. Geeta Menon and Akshay R. Rao, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 21-22.


Jill G. Klein, INSEAD
Rohini Ahluwalia, University of Minnesota


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 32 | 2005

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