Stanford POLISCI 353 - Re(: )Measuring Political Sophistication (57 pages)

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Re(: )Measuring Political Sophistication



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Re(: )Measuring Political Sophistication

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Pages:
57
School:
Stanford University
Course:
Polisci 353 - Workshop in Statistical Modeling

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Re Measuring Political Sophistication Robert C Luskin University of Texas at Austin John Bullock Stanford University September 22 2004 It hardly needs saying that political sophistication defined roughly as the quantity and organization of a person s political cognitions Luskin 1987 is central to our understanding of mass politics The variable claims main or conditioning effects on opinions votes and other political behaviors as in e g Bartels 1996 Delli Carpini and Keeter 1996 Zaller 1992 Althaus 1998 2003 cf Popkin 1991 and Lupia and McCubbins 1998 The highly sophisticated and highly unsophisticated are different in how they process new information in what policy and electoral preferences they reach in their level of political involvement Zaller 1992 Delli Carpini and Keeter 1996 among many other relevant studies We speak of sophistication but should note that expertise cognitive complexity information knowledge awareness and other terms referring to cognitive participation in politics Luskin 2003a are closely related Expertise and under some definitions cognitive complexity are equivalent So consistent with much of his usage is Zaller s 1992 awareness 1 All refer to organized cognition Information which is cognition regardless of organization and knowledge which is correct information are not quite equivalent but especially in practice very close The quantity of political information a person holds is highly correlated with both how well he or she has organized it and how accurate it tends to be Large but disorganized belief systems since long term memory works by organization are almost unimaginable Large but delusional ones like those of the remaining followers of Lyndon LaRouche who believe that the Queen of England heads a vast international drug conspiracy are rare Luskin 2003b The operational differences these days are smaller still Most early sophistication measures zeroed in on the organization rather than the quantity of stored cognition focusing either



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