Date of Thesis
Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)
Bachelor of Arts
T. Joel Wade
Evolutionary psychology, Politics
Inspired by research in the field of political science and evolutionary psychology, this study aimed to explore whether gender plays a role in voting behavior when the candidate has been involved in an emotional or sexual affair. There were two phases of the study. The first phase of the study evaluated whether voter response was affected by knowledge of a political candidate's infidelity, and specifically, whether males and females responded differently when the type of infidelity and gender of the politician was not specified. The second phase of the study evaluated whether males and females responded differently when the type of infidelity was defined as being primarily sexual versus emotional or primarily emotional versus sexual and the gender of the politician is specified. In the first phase, it was predicted that men would respond less negatively than women to an unfaithful politician and that men would assume the type of infidelity is sexual while women would assume it is emotional. Both men and women were expected to assume the sex of the politician was male. In the second phase, it was predicted that when the affair was defined as primarily physical (sexual) or emotional, men would respond more negatively to a political figure's commission of a physical (sexual) infidelity whereas women would respond more negatively to a political figure's commission of emotional infidelity. Results of the experiment revealed that both females and males responded similarly in both phases. Both sexes reported they were less likely to vote for and felt poorly about the unfaithful political representative, regardless of type of infidelity.
Heller, Emily Elizabeth, "Evolutionary Psychology and the Vote: Gender Differences in Voter Response to Political Infidelity Scandals" (2015). Honors Theses. 319.