The authors wish to thank Mikael Gilljam, Peter Esaiasson, Iris Alfredsson, Martin Bennulf, Patricia Shanks, LeeAnn Debo, and Mark Henry for their advice and assistance. This article was written while the first author was Waernska Visiting Professor of Political Science at the University of Göteborg. The U.S. and Swedish data were obtained through the Svensk Samhall-svetenskaplig Datatjänst at the University of Göteborg and the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan. The Dutch data were provided by Cees van der Eijk of the University of Amsterdam. The authors are solely responsible for the analyses and interpretation.
The Person Positivity and Principal Actor Hypotheses1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 20, Issue 22, pages 1879–1901, December 1990
How to Cite
Granberg, D. and Holmberg, S. (1990), The Person Positivity and Principal Actor Hypotheses. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20: 1879–1901. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1990.tb01516.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Data from election studies in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the U.S. were analyzed to test the external validity of Sears' person positivity hypothesis. Although people in Sweden and the Netherlands did not rate their preferred party less favorably than that party's leader, overall the results in those two countries tended to support the person positivity hypothesis. However, the U.S. data indicated, contrary to the person positivity hypothesis, that people rated political parties more favorably than the nominees, or the people competing for the nominations, of those parties. An alternative, the principal actor hypothesis, was offered which is compatible with the data from all three countries. This hypothesis is that positivity or leniency will be extended in judgments that do not involve the principal actors in a political system. This accords with our findings that in the strong party systems of Sweden and the Netherlands, parties are judged less favorably than party leaders, while in the weak party system of the U.S., parties are judged more favorably than the individuals nominated by the parties.