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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00213

Positive-negative Asymmetry in the Evaluations of Political Candidates. The Role of Features of Similarity and Affect in Voter Behavior.

  • 1Psychology Department, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland

In this study we followed the extension Tversky’s research on about features of similarity by with its application to open sets. Unlike the original closed-set model, in which a feature was shifted between a common and a distinctive set, we investigated how addition of new features and deletion of existing features affected similarity judgements. The model was tested empirically in a political context and we analyzed how positive and negative changes in a candidate’s profile affect the similarity of the politician to his or her ideal and opposite counterpart. The results showed a positive-negative asymmetry in comparison judgements, where enhancing negative features (distinctive for an ideal political candidate) had a greater effect on judgements than operations on positive (common) features. However, the effect was not observed for comparisons to a bad politician. Further analyses showed that in the case of a negative reference point, the relationship between similarity judgements and voting intention is was mediated by the affective evaluation of the candidate.

Keywords: features of similarity, framing, reference point, negativity effect, similarity judgements

Received: 19 Jul 2017; Accepted: 08 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Rick Thomas, Georgia Institute of Technology, United States

Reviewed by:

Silvio Aldrovandi, Birmingham City University, United Kingdom
Ion Juvina, Wright State University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Jablonska and Falkowski. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Magdalena Jablonska, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Psychology Department, Chodakowska 19/31, Warsaw, 03-815, Mazovian, Poland,