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Keywords:

  • political information processing;
  • personal political salience;
  • political self-schema

Personal political salience (PPS), or the propensity to attach personal meaning to social and historical events, is an individual difference variable that is related to civic participation and participation in political activism. PPS is conceptualized as a self-schema and hypothesized to be related to efficient processing of political data. In two samples, PPS was positively related to number of political interest descriptors endorsed, unrelated to number of personality descriptors endorsed, and positively related to quick processing of information about political positions, party identification, and political ideology. Conceptualizing PPS as a self-schema is useful because it provides a cognitive mechanism whereby people connect personal experiences to their wider social, historical, and political contexts.