August 8, 2008

How Emotions Influence Voting Behavior: What Makes Candidates More Likely to Win...or Lose

Focus on 2008 Primaries and November Election

WHO: Drew Westen, PhD, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University and author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation

WHAT: Westen will discuss how emotions have been central to the success or failure of presidential candidates over the last 40 years and how these findings applied to the 2008 primaries and will apply to the upcoming November election

WHERE: American Psychological Association's 116th Annual Convention Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
415 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02210
Meeting Level 2, Meeting Room 205B

WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 16. Session 3346, 3:00 – 3:50 PM

BACKGROUND: Westen has found that people vote emotionally while subconsciously ignoring key facts and details that could contradict those impulses. He will describe the psychology behind the politicians who are successful (e.g., Bill Clinton, George Bush) and those who are less so (e.g., John Kerry, Hilary Clinton) in creating an emotional bond with the voter. He will also talk about what voters look for in a presidential candidate.

The American Psychological Association (APA), in Washington, DC, is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world's largest association of psychologists. APA's membership includes more than 148,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.