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Brain indices of disagreement with one's social values predict EU referendum voting behavior.

Galli, Giulia and Sirota, Miroslav and Materassi, Maurizio and Zaninotto, Francesca and Terry, Philip (2017) 'Brain indices of disagreement with one's social values predict EU referendum voting behavior.' Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12 (11). 1758 - 1765. ISSN 1749-5016

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Abstract

Pre-electoral surveys typically attempt, and sometimes fail, to predict voting behavior on the basis of explicit measures of agreement or disagreement with a candidate or political position. Here, we assessed whether a specific brain signature of disagreement with one's social values, the event-related potential component N400, could be predictive of voting behavior. We examined this possibility in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom. In the five weeks preceding the referendum, we recorded the N400 while participants with different vote intentions expressed their agreement or disagreement with pro- and against-EU statements. We showed that the N400 responded to statements incongruent with one's view regarding the EU. Crucially, this effect predicted actual voting behavior in decided as well as undecided voters. The N400 was a better predictor of voting choice than an explicit index of preference based on the behavioral responses. Our findings demonstrate that well-defined patterns of brain activity can forecast future voting behavior.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: event-related potentials, N400, voting behavior, social beliefs
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2017 14:55
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2021 13:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20573

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