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A Partisan Schema for Political Information Processing

Milton Lodge and Ruth Hamill
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 80, No. 2 (Jun., 1986), pp. 505-520
DOI: 10.2307/1958271
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1958271
Page Count: 16
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A Partisan Schema for Political Information Processing
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Abstract

Based on their interest in politics and knowledge of political leaders, individuals are classified into three levels of partisan sophistication: (1) those scoring high in interest and knowledge (partisan schematics), (2) a middle group, and (3) those scoring low (partisan aschematics). In this experimental study, and consistent with findings from cognitive and social psychology, partisan schematics prove better able than partisan ascematics to classify campaign statements as either Republican or Democratic and to recall the policy stands taken by a fictitious congressman. Aschematics, at the other extreme, perform at no better than chance levels in either the recognition or recall of the congressman's policy statements. There are, however, liabilities to sophistication as well: Schematics demonstrate a @'consistency bias@' in recalling significantly more policy statements that are consistent with the congressman's party identification than are inconsistent with it. This "restructuring" of memory is especially pronounced among sophisticates, and reflects a serious bias in the processing of political information.

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