Political Science, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Personality and Individual Differences 155 (2020) 109704 DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2019.109704


Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Motivated reasoning is an important element of politics especially in these highly polarized times. People selectively expose themselves to information in a fashion that makes it possible to embrace arguments consistent with their existing biases and ignore arguments inconsistent with those biases. Often overlooked in the research on motivated reasoning and selective exposure to information, however, is that a substantial portion of politics is about affective responses—that which makes people feel good and that which makes people feel bad. In this paper, we introduce a novel indicator of people's tendency to prolong exposure to favored political images or to truncate exposure to disliked political images. This measure makes it possible to better understand individual differences regarding concepts such as negativity bias and asymmetric political attention even when substantive, issue-based information is not at play.