Political Behavior

, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 99–122 | Cite as

The formation and structure of political belief systems

  • Paul A. Dawson


Do large numbers of people possess the ability to relate to political events in a systematic way? Is this ability shown in the formation of relatively coherent systems of beliefs about politics? To deal with these questions, this article develops and tests a model of the cognitive process by which individuals form and organize beliefs about politics. The model explains the formation of political belief systems and successfully predicts their structure. The model also provides an integrative focus for the literature on political rationality and “issue voting,” and on the relationship between political attitude and political behavior.


Cognitive Process Belief System Political Attitude Political Event Political Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc. 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul A. Dawson
    • 1
  1. 1.Oberlin CollegeUSA

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