Balancing emotion and reason in CIR deliberation

Posted by on August 5, 2016 in CIR reports and publications, CIR research collaborative | 0 comments

A new article co-authored by three CIR researchers (Genevieve Fuji-Johnson, Laura Black, and Katherine Knobloch)  shows how citizens try to balance emotion and reason during their CIR deliberations. The article is now available in the journal Politics and Policy, which published a blog post on the article.

The authors combined direct experience observing CIRs with careful examination of transcripts to reach a number of conclusions about citizen deliberation during this process. An excerpt from the article  shows one important finding about how citizens worked with the strong emotions that came up during the CIR, particular in the arguments made by advocates for and against ballot measures:

Our study shows that, despite hearing a number of strong emotional appeals through evocative personal stories, the CIR panellists were very task focused and found the rational arguments embedded in the stories’ moral. Panellists oriented toward reasoned claims and arguments more than the particular events in the story. In some ways, this is the opposite of what is typically expected in politics. We generally expect citizens to be distracted by emotional claims and persuaded by evocative narratives – narratives on which political campaign ads are based and which constitute in large part the reason for the overly rationalistic tendency of deliberative theory. But, the CIR panellists were not excessively swayed by the details of these narratives. They remained focused on their task.

The full article is available here.

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