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

Galli, G and Sirota, M and Materassi, M and Zaninotto, F and Terry, P (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

© The Author (2017). 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 UK. In the 5 weeks preceding the referendum, we recorded the N400 while participants with different vote intentions expressed their agreement or disagreement with proand against-EU statements. We showed that the N400 responded to statements incongruent with one's view regarding theEU. 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
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: 04 Feb 2019 19:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/20573

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