Can the Same Politician Help and Hurt the Evaluations of Another Politician? The Role of Categorization on the Elicitation of Assimilation and Contrast Effects in the Mexican Political Context

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Abstract

Two studies investigated the effects of bringing a highly controversial politician to mind on the evaluations of another politician in the Mexican political context. We took advantage of the dynamic nature of the Mexican political context in which politicians often threaten to leave or actually leave their political parties, influencing the categorization process. We hypothesized that the same controversial politician could elicit assimilation and contrast effects on the evaluations of another politician, depending on whether both political figures were treated as lateral categories or members of the same superordinate category. Study 1 found support for the predicted contrast effects but only among those who did not classify both political figures as members of the same political party. Study 2 found support for the expected interexemplar assimilation effects but only among those who classified both political figures as members of the same political party. The theoretical and applied implications of our results were discussed.

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