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Taming Intuition: How Reflection Minimizes Partisan Reasoning and Promotes Democratic Accountability, Kevin Arceneaux and Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Reviewed by Liliana Mason

In Taming Intuition: How Reflection Minimizes Partisan Reasoning and Promotes Democratic Accountability, Kevin Arceneaux and Ryan J. Vander Wielen jump into the middle of what seems like an eternal debate among scholars of political behavior: are voters rational decision makers or hopelessly biased motivated reasoners? Their innovative and well-explained answer is “both.” Rather than pitting rational choice and psychological approaches against one another, Arceneaux and Vander Wielen take the novel approach of integrating these two seemingly disparate theories.

Inspired by the dual-process model of information processing, the authors describe a system in which all partisans are susceptible to biased partisan reasoning. That is, the immediate intuitions that emerge from “System 1” processing are equally vulnerable to pro-party bias across all partisans. However, “rationality does not imply freedom from having these impulses. Rather, it is about the ability to override these initial reactions when the circumstances warrant it” (p. 14). The authors argue that individuals who are high in “need for cognition” and low in “need for affect” are particularly suited to reevaluate their “gut” reactions to partisan cues.

This is an important book in that it identifies a crucial set

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