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Elements of Reason
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  • 25 b/w illus. 13 tables
  • Page extent: 344 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.51 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320/.01/9
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: JA74.5 .E434 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Political psychology
    • Reasoning (Psychology)
    • Political sociology
    • Social choice

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521653329 | ISBN-10: 0521653320)

Many social scientists want to explain why people do what they do. A barrier to constructing such explanations used to be a lack of information on the relationship between cognition and choice. Now, recent advances in cognitive science, economics, political science, and psychology have clarified this relationship. In Elements of Reason, eighteen scholars from across the social sciences use these advances to uncover the cognitive foundations of social decision making. They answer tough questions about how people see and process information and provide new explanations of how basic human needs, the environment, and past experiences combine to affect human choices. Elements of Reason is written for a broad audience and should be read by anyone for whom 'Why do people do what they do?' is an important question. It is the rare book that transforms abstract debates about rationality and reason into empirically relevant explanations of how people choose.

• Top scholars from four disciplines unite in an attempt to explain how political decision makers seek and use information • Complements The Democratic Dilemma by Lupia and McCubbins • Will appeal to students and scholars studying both political psychology and rational choice models


1. Beyond rationality: reason and the study of politics Arthur Lupia, Mathew D. McCubbins and Samuel L. Popkin; Part I. External Elements of Reason: 2. Shared mental models: ideologies and institutions Arthur T. Denzau and Douglass C. North; 3. The institutional foundations of political competence: how citizens learn what they need to know Arthur Lupia and Mathew D. McCubbins; 4. Taking sides: a fixed choice theory of political reasoning Paul Sniderman; 5. How people reason about ethics Norman Frohlich and Joe Oppenheimer; 6. Who says what? Source credibility as a mediator of campaign advertising Shanto Iyengar and Nicholas A. Valentino; 7. Affect as information: the role of public mood in political reasoning Wendy M. Rahn; Part II. Internal Elements of Reason: 8. Reconsidering the rational public: cognition, heuristics, and mass opinion James H. Kuklinski and Paul J. Quirk; 9. Three steps toward a theory of motivated political reasoning Milton Lodge and Charles Taber; 10. Knowledge, trust, and international reasoning Samuel L. Popkin and Michael A. Dimock; 11. Coping with tradeoffs: psychological constraints and political implications Philip E. Tetlock; 12. Backstage cognition in reason and choice Mark Turner; 13. Constructing a theory of reasoning: choice, constraints, and context Arthur Lupia, Mathew D. McCubbins and Samuel L. Popkin.


'Elements of Reason remains a very impressive volume and represents a substantial advance in a field that has hitherto appeared mired in debates about 'rationality'. It certainly will stimulate a great deal of debate and further research in its field.' International Affairs


Arthur Lupia, Mathew D. McCubbins, Samuel L. Popkin, Arthur T. Denzau, Douglass C. North, Paul M. Sniderman, Norman Frohlich, Joe Oppenheimer, Shanto Iyengar, Nicholas A. Valentino, Wendy M. Rahn, James H. Kuklinski, Paul J. Quirk, Milton Lodge, Charles Taber, Michael A. Dimock, Philip E. Tetlock, Mark Turner

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