Recent U.S. history provides vivid illustrations of the importance of politicians' emotional displays in subsequent judgments of them. Yet, a review of empirical research on the role of affect (emotion, mood, and evaluation) in electoral politics reveals little work that has focused on the impact of candidates' emotional expression on voters' preferences for them. A theoretical framework is proposed to identify psychological mechanisms by which a target's displays of emotion influence judgments of that target. Findings from the emerging literature on emotions and politics challenge the traditional assumption of political science that voters make decisions based solely on the cold consideration of nonaffectively charged information. The affect and politics literature, although somewhat unfocused and broad, represents an interdisciplinary domain of study that contributes to the understanding of both electoral politics and social interaction more generally.
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