The Psychology of Political Communicators

The Psychology of Political Communicators

By: Ofer Feldman Sonja Zmerli

Release date: Oct 2018


Number of pages: 252

ISBN: 978-1138596191

In this timely study, Ofer Feldman, Sonja Zmerli and their team of experts shed light on the multiple ways communication affects political behavior and attitudes. Written for students and scholars alike, The Psychology of Political Communicators uses examples from the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East to examine the nature, characteristics, content and the reception of communication in three major areas of discourse:

  • The style and nature of language used by political actors in the national and international arenas
  • The discourse used in nationalist populist movements and during negative campaigns
  • The rhetoric of the media as it tries to frame politics, political events and political actors
  • Collectively, the essays form a solid foundation on which to understand the different roles language plays in the conduct of politics, the way in which these roles are performed in various situations in different societies and cultures, and the political outcomes of verbal behavior. This book will be of interest to scholars and students of political psychology and communication studies.


    1. Introduction: Liberal Democracies and the Study of Political Communicators / Ofer Feldman and Sonja Zmerli
    Part 1: Political Leaders’ Discourse
    2. The New American Electoral Politics: How Invited Behavior and Reality TV Explain Donald Trump’s Victory / Michael Alan Krasner
    3. Political Communicators and Control in Political Interviews in Japanese Television: A Comparative Study and the Effect of Culture / Ofer Feldman and Ken Kinoshita
    4. Comparing Japanese and U.S. Leaders’ Communication: The Construction of Meaning in Addresses to the United Nations General Assembly / Sarah Tanke
    Part 2: Populist Communication and Negative Campaigning
    5. They Caused our Crisis! The Contents and Effects of Populist Communication: Evidence from the Netherlands /  Michael Hameleers
    6. Populism in Self-Directed and Mediated Communication: The Case of the Five Star Movement in the 2013 Italian Electoral Campaign / Cristina Cremonesi
    7. Fighting with Fire: Negative Campaigning in the 2015 U.K. General Election Campaign as Reported by the Print Media / Annemarie Walter
    Part 3: Media Discourse
    8. Representations of Televised Debates in the Press and their Influence on Political Candidates: The Cases of Spain, the U.K., and the U.S. / Laura Pérez Rastrilla
    9. Non-Systemic Factors Underlying Rapid Change in Gender-Biased Media Framing of Female Politicians: 2009 and 2013 Israeli Newspaper Election Coverage / Gilad Greenwald and
    Sam Lehman-Wilzig
    10. Old Traps and New Prospects: Gendered Media Images of Leading Female Politicians in Germany as Evidence for a Contested Modernization of Gender Knowledge / Dorothee Beck
    11. “Men Prefer Redheads”: Media Framing of Polls and its Effect on Trust in Media / Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom and Marie Courtemanche
    12. Media Ownership: Propositions for an Extended Research Agenda / Sonja Zmerli
    Online Appendix to Supplement the Text

Ofer Feldman is a Professor of Political Psychology and Behavior at the Faculty of Policy Studies, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan. He is the author of more than 90 journal articles and book chapters, and more than 100 encyclopedia items, in the fields of political psychology/behavior, communication studies, and Japanese politics, and the sole author, sole editor, and co-editor of 15 books and monographs, including Talking Politics in Japan Today (2004), Seiji shinrigaku [Political Psychology] (in Japanese, 2006), and the Politische Psychologie: Handbuch für Studium und Wissenschaft [Political Psychology: Handbook for Study and Science] (in German, 2015, with Sonja Zmerli).

Sonja Zmerli is Professor of Political Science at the Institut d’Études Politiques de Grenoble, France. Her research interests revolve around social capital, civil society, political support, income inequality, and welfare regimes. Her articles have appeared in Public Opinion Quarterly, European Political Science Review, American Behavioral Scientist, and Social Science Research. Most recently, she has co-edited the Handbook on Political Trust (2017, with Tom van der Meer).