My research agenda is situated in the areas of political psychology and behavior, the media, and racial attitudes. Broadly speaking, I use a mixture of survey and experimental methods to examine public opinion and political behavior. An overarching theme that unites many of my research projects is an emphasis on getting the underlying assumptions correct – whether regarding a psychological underpinning of behavior or a measurement concern. Importantly, I seek to extend these individual-level explanations to larger questions in politics. For example, it is not enough to understand why a citizen is angered by a particular political appeal; we must also strive to determine what behaviors arise from that anger and whether the impact is systematic. Moreover, we ought to then connect the explanation to topics such as campaign strategy and responsiveness of elected officials.

My research falls into three major areas: the role of attention and unconscious processes, emotion and political behavior, and the influence of race on public opinion and vote choice.   Briefly, I have addressed:

  • Examining if and when physiological arousal predicts political participation.
  • The conditions under which measures of self-reported emotion might lead political scientists to draw the wrong conclusions.
  • The extent to which candidates’ racial identities influence the assumptions that voters draw about how they will behave in office (with Timothy J. Ryan).
  • Identifying the narrow set of circumstances under which prejudice change is possible (with Arthur Lupia and several colleagues).
  • The validity of applying the concept of symbolic racism (or racial resentment) to Hispanics.
  • Understanding how both the type of terrorist threat and the ethno-religious identity of a terrorist impact emotional responses and behavior (with Ted Brader and Nicholas Valentino).
  • How, given the growth of Internet surveys, question formatting alters self-reported emotion (with Ted Brader and Nicholas Valentino).

If you’d like to learn more about my research, please send me an email at