Public Opinion, Political Communication, and Political Participation

Citizens’ preferences and actions form the foundation of democratic governance. A number of scholars in our department study opinion formation, how communication affects opinion formation, and how opinions become represented through participatory acts.  These scholars explore a variety of distinct dynamics including psychological processes of attitude formation, media communications, social identities, the role of emotion in politics, macro-public opinion, stereotypes, and the effects of political institutions on individuals.

The department also has an experimental laboratory often used to study opinion formation and an annual conference on public opinion, communication, and political behavior.

Scholars at Northwestern who work on these topics include: