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Source Cues and Policy Approval: The Cognitive Dynamics of Public Support for the Reagan Agenda

Jeffery J. Mondak
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 37, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 186-212
DOI: 10.2307/2111529
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111529
Page Count: 27
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Source Cues and Policy Approval: The Cognitive Dynamics of Public Support for the Reagan Agenda
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Abstract

Research in the field of political cognition has proceeded at a rapid pace, offering numerous new perspectives regarding the dynamics of mass political behavior. However, the primary focus of most such research has been the individual actor. For example, the political relevance of heuristic principles of judgment has been addressed in a variety of recent studies, all of which examine individual-level data. However, though it is certainly true that psychological processes operate on the individual, it is also quite clear that the political significance of mass behavior typically is found at the collective level. Thus, it is essential that researchers specify the aggregate consequences of those psychological processes that operate on the political judgments of the individual citizen. In this article, a unique aggregate-level data set is introduced to aid in examination of the broad significance of heuristic processing of source cues. The analysis reveals clear evidence that this individual-level cognitive efficiency mechanism exerts influence on the shape and character of mass opinion.

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