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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 7, 2006

Redlawsk Addresses Voting And Emotion Nov. 11 At Saturday Scholars

Stepping into the voting booth, voters think they are carefully evaluating information and making "reasoned" decisions. Unbeknownst to many voters, emotion will win out over reason whether they like it or not.

David Redlawsk, associate professor of political science in the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), will explain what's going on in this battle of logic vs. emotion when he speaks on "Politics: What's Emotion Got To Do With It?" at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, in Room 40 of Schaeffer Hall on the UI Pentacrest.

This is the final presentation in the college's annual Saturday Scholars lecture series.

In a preview of his Nov. 11 presentation, Redlawsk will be a guest on "Talk of Iowa," WSUI-AM 910 and WOI-AM 640, at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Redlawsk said that although political scientists and others have championed the idea that in order to think clearly we must put aside our emotions, it is important to remember that at its core, politics is about feelings.

"At the most basic level politics is about the allocation of scarce resources," he said. "Since this means some people get things while others do not, it is not surprising that peoples' feelings are an important part any political calculation."

Logically, he said, we should expect that new information about a political candidate, for example, should change our evaluation of that candidate in the direction of the new information. Yet our emotional commitments to a candidate -- how we feel about him or her -- come into play without our conscious awareness and may cause us to respond in ways that are anything but logical.

Redlawsk joined the UI faculty in 1999 after earning his doctorate in political science from Rutgers University. His research focuses on voter decision-making and attitudes toward political corruption. Before entering the academic world, he was an elected official in Hillsborough, N.J.

Saturday Scholars was developed by CLAS Dean Linda Maxson to give members of the public a chance to hear about the latest teaching and research innovations by faculty members in the college. The sessions last about an hour, including a 20-30 minute presentation followed by time for questions. Refreshments are served. Additional information is available at

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in advance at 319-335-2610.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,