Promoting a Department of Peace: An Exploration of Affective States and Political Perceptions
Two studies investigated the relationship between emotions and political proposals affecting national security. Study One examined the extent to which proposals, ostensibly undertaken to produce security, may actually increase anxiety. Participants (N = 131) were exposed to proposals for either missile defense or a Department of Peace, which either included or excluded information concerning the proposal's author. Neither proposal affected general anxiety level, but participants exposed to the proposal for missile defense reported feeling less secure that the nation could be protected from attack. Belief in efficacy was relatively low, significantly lower than the modest belief in efficacy reported by those exposed to the proposal for a Department of Peace. Ratings of effectiveness were not significantly biased by author affiliation. Study Two examined the impact of induced affective state on judgments of program efficacy. University students (N = 36) were emotionally primed with comforting or threatening stimuli intended to affect feelings of anxiety. They were then exposed to either a proposal for missile defense or a proposal for a Department of Peace and asked to rate the proposal's effectiveness. Priming efforts were successful in manipulating feelings of anxiety, but perceived efficacy was not affected. However, level of anxiety was positively correlated with the judged efficacy of missile defense and negatively correlated with the efficacy of a Department of Peace. Participants rated a Department of Peace as more effective than a missile defense program. Their comments suggest ways for engendering public support for the creation of a U.S. Department of Peace.
Peace and Conflict
Mahoney, Caitlin O. and de Rivera, Joseph, "Promoting a Department of Peace: An Exploration of Affective States and Political Perceptions" (2008). International Development, Community, and Environment. 526.