Original Paper

Political Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 89-112

Political Information, Political Involvement, and Reliance on Ideology in Political Evaluation

  • Christopher M. FedericoAffiliated withDepartments of Psychology and Political Science, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Email author 
  • , Corrie V. HuntAffiliated withHart Research Associates

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Many studies have focused on the relationship between political information and the use of ideology. Here, we argue that two “evaluative motivations”—general investment of the self in politics and extremity of partisanship—serve as moderators of this relationship. Specifically, we use data from two recent national surveys to test whether the possession of information is more strongly associated with a tendency to approach politics in an ideological fashion among individuals high in both types of evaluative motivation. Results supported this hypothesis, revealing that information was more strongly associated with ideological constraint and with a tendency to give polarized evaluations of conservatives and liberals among those who highly invest the self in politics and those with more extreme partisanship. As such, this study suggests that information and involvement interact to shape the use of ideology.


Ideology Political expertise Political involvement