Elevation is a mixed-affect emotional experience in response to witnessing good deeds, moral beauty, or virtue. Although studied extensively in entertainment, it has been largely ignored in political communication. The results of two experimental studies with U.S. adults (n = 210 and n = 630) suggest that political speeches can evoke elevation responses, and that such an elevation response is not affected by the political party of the speaker. An elevating response was associated with greater positivity toward politics and the speaker (Studies 1 and 2), as well as increased perceived closeness with one's own party and the opposing party (Study 2). Elevation was also associated with lower political cynicism. These outcomes further predicted both intentions to participate in the political process and information-seeking behavior. In a time when U.S. politics seem especially divided, elevation may represent one possible avenue for encouraging political discourse and participation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language