The political brain : the role of emotion in deciding the fate of the nation

Westen, Drew, 1959-

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Drew Westen
  • Format Books
  • Publication New York : PublicAffairs, [2007] ©2007
  • Physical Details
    • xv, 457 pages ; 25 cm
  • ISBNs 9781586484255, 1586484257
  • OCLC ocm86117725


  • This investigation by a renowned psychologist and neuroscientist proves that we vote with our hearts, not our minds. Westen is the lead investigator on a team of neuroscientists who have been studying how the brain processes political information. For two decades he has been advancing a theory of the mind that differs substantially from the more "dispassionate" visions held by most cognitive psychologists, political scientists, and economists. He looks at data across several Presidential elections from the 1950s through 2000, examines the evidence for the role of emotion in driving voting behavior, and provides a "clinical" view of a number of campaign ads, debate lines and personal profiles of the candidates who have sought to win our hearts. And he shows that Americans don't vote with their heads but with their hearts, or guts, or neuroses.--From publisher description.


  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 423-426) and index.


  • Winning states of mind -- Rational minds, irrational campaigns -- The evolution of the passionate brain -- The emotions behind the curtain -- Special interests in mind -- Trickle-up politics -- Writing an emotional constitution -- Aborting ambivalence -- Gunning for common ground -- Racial consciousness and unconsciousness -- Death and taxes -- Hope, inspiration, and political intelligence -- Positively negative -- Terror networks -- Civil and uncivil unions
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