The Cognitive–Affective Structure of Political Ideologies

  • Paul Thagard
Part of the Advances in Group Decision and Negotiation book series (AGDN, volume 7)


This chapter displays the structure of ideologies using a new technique called cognitiveaffective mapping, portraying the cognitive and emotional relations in both left-wing and right-wing ideologies. The technique is expanded to allow multimodal representations such as pictures and sounds in addition to verbal concepts, with Nazi ideology as an illustration. The cognitive–affective maps are based on a theory of emotional coherence that can explain why people are attracted to various ideologies. The psychological theory of emotional coherence meshes well with social mechanisms of cognitive and emotional transfer that can explain how ideologies spread through groups of individuals.


Emotion Group decision taking Ideology Cognitive–affective maps Empathy Negotiation 



This work is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. I am grateful to an anonymous referee for comments and to Tobias Schröder and Thomas Homer-Dixon for helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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