My research agenda lies at the intersection of political psychology, political communication, and political behavior. I am especially interested in how the interaction between political messages and people’s intuitions — which partially reflect evolutionary and biological processes — shape opinions and, ultimately, behavior. Motivating my work is the commonplace concern that citizens are easily manipulated by advertising and slick messaging. The research undertaken by my collaborators and me suggests that while most people are not pliant dupes, many also deviate from the democratic ideal of an engaged, deeply informed, and fair-minded citizenry. Individuals possess predispositions, which constrain the influence of political messages disseminated through mass media and by campaigns. While predispositions may sometimes help people behave in ways that are consistent with the democratic ideal, they can also undermine it — especially when predispositions revolve around ingroup biases.

Predispositions and Intuition

Bakker, Bert N., Gijs Schumacher, Claire Gothreau, and Kevin Arceneaux. “Conservatives and Liberals have Similar Physiological Responses to Threats.” Nature Human Behavior, forthcoming.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2019. “The Roots of Intolerance and Opposition to Compromise: The Effects of Absolutism on Political Attitudes.” Personality and Individual Differences, 151: 109498.

Arceneaux, Kevin, Johanna Dunaway, and Stuart Soroka. 2018. “Elites are People, Too: The Effects of Threat Sensitivity on Policymakers’ Spending Priorities.” PLOS ONE, 13(4): e1093781.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen. 2017. Taming Intuition: How Reflection Minimizes Partisan Reasoning and Promotes Democratic Accountability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aarøe, Lene, Michael Bang Petersen, Kevin Arceneaux. 2017 “The Behavioral Immune System Shapes Political Intuitions: Why and How Individual Differences in Disgust Sensitivity Underlie Opposition to Immigration.” American Political Science Review, 111 (2): 277-94.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2017.  “Anxiety Reduces Empathy Toward Outgroup Members But Not Ingroup Members.” Journal of Experimental Political Science, 4 (1): 68-80.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen. 2013. “The Effects of Need for Cognition and Need for Affect on Partisan Evaluations,” Political Psychology, 34 (1): 23-42.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2012. “Cognitive Biases and the Strength of Political Arguments,” American Journal of Political Science, 56 (2): 271-85.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Stephen P. Nicholson. 2012. “Who Wants to Have a Tea Party? The Who, What, and Why of the Tea Party Movement.” PS: Political Science & Politics, 45 (4): 700-10.

Arceneaux, Kevin, Martin Johnson, and Hermine H. Maes. 2012. “The Genetic Basis of Political Sophistication,” Twin Research and Human Genetics, 15 (1): 34-41.

Weber, Christopher, Martin Johnson, and Kevin Arceneaux. 2011 “Genetics, Personality, and Group Identity,” Social Science Quarterly, 92 (5): 1314-36.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2008. “Can Partisan Cues Diminish Democratic Accountability?” Political Behavior, 30 (2): 139-160.

Partisan News Media and Selective Exposure

Arceneaux, Kevin, Johanna Dunaway, Martin Johnson, and Ryan Vander Wielen. “Strategic Candidate Entry and Congressional Elections in the Era of Fox News.” American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming.

Anspach, Nicolas M., Jay T. Jennings, and Kevin Arceneaux. 2019. “A Little Bit of Knowledge: Facebook’s News Feed and Self-Perceptions of Knowledge.” Research & Politics, 6 (1): 1-9.

Arceneaux, Kevin, Martin Johnson, René Lindstädt, and Ryan J. Vander Wielen. 2016 “The Influence of News Media on Political Elites: Investigating Strategic Responsiveness in Congress.” American Journal of Political Science, 60 (1): 5-29.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Martin Johnson. 2015 “How Does Media Choice Affect Hostile Media Perceptions? Evidence from Participant Preference Experiments.” Journal of Experimental Political Science, 2 (1): 12-25.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Martin Johnson. 2013. Changing Minds or Changing Channels? Partisan News in an Age of Choice. University of Chicago Press.

Arceneaux, Kevin, Martin Johnson, and John Cryderman. 2013. “Communication, Persuasion, and the Conditioning Value of Selective Exposure: Like Minds May Unite and Divide but They Mostly Tune Out.” Political Communication, 30 (2): 213-31.

Arceneaux, Kevin, Martin Johnson, and Chad Murphy. 2012. “Polarized Political Communication, Oppositional Media Hostility, and Selective Exposure,” Journal of Politics, 74 (1): 174-86.

Election Campaigns and Persuasion

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Robin Kolodny. 2009. “Educating the Least Informed: Group Endorsements in a Grassroots Campaign,” American Journal of Politics, 53 (4): 755-70.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Robin Kolodny. 2009. “The Effect of Grassroots Campaigning on Issue Preferences and Issue Salience,”Journal of Elections, Public Opinion, and Parties, 19 (3): 235-49.

Huber, Gregory and Kevin Arceneaux. 2007. “Identifying the Persuasive Effects of Presidential Advertising,” American Journal of Political Science, 51 (4): 957-77.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2007. “I’m Asking for Your Support: The Effects of Personally Delievered Campaign Messages on Voting Decisions and Opinion Formation,” Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 2(1): 43-65.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2006. “Do Campaigns Help Voters Learn? A Cross-National Analysis.” British Journal of Political Science, 36 (1): 159-73.

Voter Mobilization

Mann, Christopher B., Kevin Arceneaux, and David W. Nickerson. 2019. “Do Negatively Framed Messages Motivate Political Participation? Evidence from Four Field Experiments.” American Politics Research, forthcoming.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Daniel Butler. 2016. “How Not to Increase Participation in Local Government: The Advantages of Experiments when Testing Policy Interventions.” Public Administration Review, 76 (1): 131-39.

Arceneaux, Kevin, Thad Kousser, and Megan Mullin. 2012. “Get Out the Vote-by-Mail? A Randomized Field Experiment Testing the Effect of Mobilization in Traditional and Vote-by-Mail Precincts,” Political Research Quarterly, 65 (4): 882-94.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and David Nickerson. 2010. “Comparing Negative and Positive Campaign Messages: Evidence from Two Field Experiments,” American Politics Research, 38 (1): 54-83.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and David Nickerson. 2009. “Who is Mobilized to Vote? A Re-Analysis of Eleven Randomized Field Experiments,”American Journal of Political Science, 53(1): 1-16.

Responsibility Attribution and Voting

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2006. “The Federal Face of Voting: Are Elected Officials Held Accountable for the Functions Relevant to Their Office?” Political Psychology, 27 (5): 731-54.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Robert Stein. 2006. “Who is Held Responsible When Disaster Strikes? The Attribution of Responsibility for a Natural Disaster in an Urban Election,” Journal of Urban Affairs, 28 (1): 43-53.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2003. “The Conditional Impact of Blame Attribution on the Relationship between Economic Adversity and Turnout,” Political Research Quarterly, 56 (1): 63-71.

Public Opinion and Democratic Responsiveness

Brace, Paul, Kevin Arceneaux, Martin Johnson, and Stacy Ulbig. 2007. “Reply to ‘The Measurement and Stability of State Citizen Ideology’,” State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 7 (2): 133-40.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2005. “Does Federalism Weaken Democratic Representation?” Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 35 (2): 297-312.

Johnson, Martin, Paul Brace, and Kevin Arceneaux. 2005. “Public Opinion and Dynamic Representation in the American States: The Case of environmental Attitudes,” Social Science Quarterly, 86 (1): 87-108.

Brace, Paul, Kevin Arceneaux, Martin Johnson, and Stacy Ulbig. 2004. “Does State Political Ideology Change over Time?” Political Research Quarterly, 57 (4): 529-40.
“Correction,” (September 2006), 59 (3): 493-94.
“Rejoinder to Berry, Ringquist, Fording, and Hanson ‘Comment’,” (2006), 59 (4): 655.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2002. “Direct Democracy and the Link between Public Opinion and State Abortion Policy,” State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 2 (4): 372-87.

Brace, Paul, Kellie Butler, Kevin Arceneaux, and Martin Johnson. 2002. “Public Opinion in the American States: New Perspectives Using National Survey Data,” American Journal of Political Science, 46 (1): 173-89.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2001. “The ‘Gender Gap’ in State Legislative Representation: New Data to Tackle an Old Question,” Political Research Quarterly, 54 (1): 143-60.


Arceneaux, Kevin, Alan Gerber, and Donald Green. 2010. “A Cautionary Note on the Use of Matching to Estimate Causal Effects,” Sociological Methods and Research, 39 (2): 256-82.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2010. “The Benefits of Experimental Methods for the Study of Campaign Effects,”Political Communication, 27 (2): 199-215.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and David Nickerson. 2009. “Modeling Uncertainty with Clustered Data: A Comparison of Methods,” Political Analysis, 17 (2): 177-90.

Arceneaux, Kevin, and Gregory Huber. 2007. “What to Do (and Not Do) with Multicollinearity in State Politics Research,”State Politics and Policy Quarterly, 7 (1): 81-101.

Arceneaux, Kevin, Alan Gerber, and Donald Green. 2006. “Comparing Experimental and Matching Methods using a Large-Scale Field Experiment on Voter Mobilization,” Political Analysis, 14 (1): 37-62.

Arceneaux, Kevin. 2005. “Using Cluster Randomized Field Experiments to Study Voting Behavior,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 601: 169-79.
“Correction,” 628 (1): 209-12.