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An Impression-Driven Model of Candidate Evaluation

Milton Lodge, Kathleen M. McGraw and Patrick Stroh
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 83, No. 2 (Jun., 1989), pp. 399-419
DOI: 10.2307/1962397
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1962397
Page Count: 21
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An Impression-Driven Model of Candidate Evaluation
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Abstract

We describe and test two process models of candidate evaluation. The memory-based model holds that evaluations are dependent on the mix of pro and con information retrieved from memory. The impression-driven model holds that evaluations are formed and updated "on-line" as information is encountered. The results provide evidence for the existence of stereotyping and projection biases that render the mix of evidence available in memory a nonveridical representation of the information to which subjects were exposed. People do not rely on the specific candidate information available in memory. Rather, consistent with the logic of the impression-driven processing model, an "on-line" judgment formed when the information was encountered best predicts candidate evaluation. The results raise both methodological and substantive challenges to how political scientists measure and model the candidate evaluation process.

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