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Release: March 28, 2000

Visiting professor to speak at UI April 7 on how voters choose

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- American voters have been labeled apathetic and even lazy based on low turnouts in most recent elections, but even those who take the responsibility seriously are likely to be swayed more by prior beliefs about a candidate than by the issues debated during the campaign.

Milton Lodge, Distinguished University Professor of Political Science at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, will discuss his research into this voter behavior in an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Friday, April 7 in Room 40, Schaeffer Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Lodge, a leading student of political psychology, will discuss "Motivated Skepticism in the Evaluation of Political Beliefs." In the lecture he will report the results of experiments testing the impact of one's prior attitudes on the interpretation and evaluation of political issues. Findings suggest that even voters who intend to be fair-minded in their decision-making carry preconceived notions with them into the election. Those biases override voters' attempts at even-handed consideration of candidates and the search for information about specific issues.

A prolific author, he has published many books and is a frequent contributor to leading political science journals. Also, he has received numerous National Science Foundation grants to continue his research.

The lecture is sponsored by the department of political science as part of the University of Iowa's Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorship Program. This program brings outstanding scholars to the UI campus for residencies ranging from a few days to an entire academic year. A native of Vinton, Iowa, Beam willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Her only university connection was a relative who graduated from the College of Medicine. Proceeds from the sale of the farm were used to establish the visiting professorships program in her name. Since 1977, hundreds of eminent scholars and scientists have visited the UI campus to give public lectures and to meet with students and faculty.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability that requires an accommodation in order to attend this lecture, please contact the department of political science at 335-2358.