Ballot Behavior: Politics & Psychology

Monday, May 23, 2016, 4pm – CNSI Auditorium, UCLA

During the first hour (4–5pm), each speaker will present a brief talk demonstrating their research on voting behavior.  The second hour (5–6pm) will feature an engaging panel discussion between the moderator and all three panelists.  Refreshments will be served in the lobby afterward.

Featuring: – Jesse Graham, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology, USC – Kerri L. Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication Studies, UCLA – Jane Junn, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, USC

Moderated by David O. Sears, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Psychology, UCLA

Funded by the UCLA Campus Programs Committee of the Program Activities Board


Jesse Graham, Ph.D., USC Psychology Ideological Conflicts as Opposing Moral Visions Why do our moral convictions feel like objective truth, and yet differ so greatly across individuals and cultures? How do shared ideological narratives influence our sense of right and wrong, and how do our moral convictions influence our political choices? This talk will explore these questions with an investigation of the interactions between morality and ideology.

Kerri L. Johnson, Ph.D., UCLA Communications & Psychology Gendered Politics: How Facial Cues Impact Social Perceptions, Electoral Outcomes, and Legislative Success Initial impressions of politicians often rely on visible characteristics in the face and body. Early research examined how physical characteristics such as height and attractiveness impact voters’ general support for candidates. More recently, research has revealed that the impact of visual cues is more extensive than initially thought, affecting even judgments of competence, leadership ability, and voting intentions. This expanded research focus now includes a broader range of evaluative judgments that are influenced by candidates’ appearance. Here, we describe research from our own lab that links gendered facial characteristics to perceptions of political party affiliation, warmth, and competence and to both hypothetical and actual vote choice. We conclude with a general discussion about how such impacts can shift electoral outcomes.

Jane Junn, Ph.D., USC Political ScienceGender Gap or Race Gap? Women Voters in U.S. Presidential ElectionsA “gender gap” in voting has been present in U.S. Presidential elections since the mid-1980s, with female voters consistently more supportive of Democratic Party candidates compared to male voters. Women have therefore been identified as the stalwart of the Democratic Party, responsible for Obama’s winning coalitions in 2008 and 2012 and a key element for electoral success in 2016. This analysis takes a fresh look at the data by unpacking patterns of voting by race, and disaggregating partisan choice and party identification among women of color and white women since 1948.


California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) Auditorium

570 Westwood Plaza

Building 114

Los Angeles, CA 90095

Directions to CNSI Auditorium can be found here.

The CNSI Auditorium (green box in map below) is just east of Westwood Plaza, toward the southwest corner of the Court of Sciences.  Suggested parking is in Structures 9 and 2 (purple boxes).  The Psychology (Franz) building is also shown (orange box).