The politics of motivation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Taber and Lodge offer a powerful case for the prevalence of directional reasoning that aims not at truth, but at the vindication of prior opinions. Taber and Lodge's results have far-reaching implications for empirical scholarship and normative theory; indeed, the very citizens often seen as performing "best" on tests of political knowledge, sophistication, and ideological constraint appear to be the ones who are the most susceptible to directional reasoning. However, Taber and Lodge's study, while internally beyond reproach, may substantially overstate the presence of motivated reasoning in political settings. That said, focusing on the accuracy motivation has the potential to bring together two models of opinion formation that many treat as competitors, and to offer a basis for assessing citizen competence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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