2014-2016 Annual Report


Team Overviews

  • The Lab Experiments Team works primarily on the Contentious Interpersonal Interactions Project (CIPI) that investigates the relationship between discomfort with political contention and political disengagement. The studies we conduct use political psychophysiology, tracing the connections between innate physical responses and political behavior. During a lab session for one of our experiments, we use electrodermal activity (EDA), an indicator of sweat gland activation, and electrocardiogram (ECG), a measure of cardiac activity, to record participants’ levels of physiological arousal in response to various political stimuli. Our experiments include measuring how individuals respond to viewing politically contentious videos, the idea of having a political discussion, and actually discussing politics with another person. Lab team members are involved in designing and proctoring these experiments, writing literature reviews, and data analysis. Want to know more? Read the 2015-2016 group’s report here.


  • The Political Communications Team works mostly on projects related to Prof. Settle’s in-progress book manuscript, although they sometimes work on CIPI projects as well. In 2015-2016, lab members helped to develop the coding scheme for a large set of free response data consisting of subjects’ descriptions of recent political discussions they participated in. Analysis of this data informed future research concerning individuals’ motivations for avoiding or disengaging from political discussions. Other lab members contributed by writing literature reviews, for example, on how political polls affect when and how citizens vote, and how viewing poll results biases citizens to vote with the majority. Team members also contributed small experimental survey projects investigating the various ways that people process political information on social media. Want to know more? Read the 2015-2016 group’s report here.