It is often claimed that politics is deeply emotional, and increasingly so. Politicians seem to make more, and more extreme, emotional appeals than ever before. Citizens are angered about politics, or anxious about political developments. Sometimes they are deeply enthusiastic and hopeful about political candidates or political change. Still there are many questions about the role of emotions in politics. How fundamental are they? When they do emerge? And are there differences between people in the emotions they experience. In one of our papers we re-analyze the claim that conservatives have stronger negative emotions than liberals. We find no evidence of this. In another paper, we study emotion as both a physiological response and a self-reported experience. We find that participants self-report to be disgusted by outparty politicians and that they also have physiological responses associated with disgust. However, there is no relation between these two variables. Some people report disgust, but have no physiological response and vice versa. In future work we continue this agenda, as well as looking at the role emotional facial expressions and the cognitive components of anger and anxiety.


Maaike Homan (in-press). Alexander Todorov’s Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions. Politics and Life Sciences.
Bert Bakker, Gijs Schumacher & Maaike Homan (in-press). Yikes. Are we disgusted by politicians? Politics and Life Sciences.Replication
Bert Bakker, Gijs Schumacher, Claire Gothreau & Kevin Arceneaux (2020). Conservatives and Liberals have Similar Physiological Responses to Threats . Nature Human Behaviour.Replication