Political information and emotions in ethnic conflict interventions Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose: This study aims to explore the effects of political information and anger on the public's cognitive processing and foreign policy preferences concerning third-party interventions in ethnic conflict. Design/methodology/approach: The study employs an experimental design, wherein the authors manipulate policy-specific information by generating ad hoc political information related to ethnic conflict. The statistical methods of analysis are logistic regression and analysis of covariance. Findings: The results demonstrate that both political information and anger have a significant impact on an individual's cognitive processing and policy preferences regarding ethnic conflict interventions. Specifically, political information increases one's proclivity to choose non-military policy options, whereas anger instigates support for aggressive policies. Both factors result in faster decision making with lower amounts of information accessed. However, the interaction of political information and anger is not significant. The study also finds that policy-specific information - rather than general political information - influences the public's policy preferences. Originality/value: This study confronts and advances the debate over whether political information is significant in influencing the public's foreign policy preferences and, if so, whether such an effect is the product of general or domain-specific information. It also addresses an under-studied topic - the emotive repercussions of ethnic conflicts among potential third-party interveners. In addition, it tackles the argument over whether political information immunizes people against (or sensitizes them to) the effects of anger on their cognitive processing and foreign policy preferences. The study also introduces a novel approach for examining political information through an experimental manipulation of policy-specific information. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

author list (cited authors)

  • Sirin, C. V., Villalobos, J. D., & Geva, N.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • February 2011