Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology, Industrial and Organizational

Date of Defense

4-14-2017

Graduate Advisor

John Meriac

Committee

Stephanie Merritt

Mark Tubbs

Jeffery Noel

Abstract

Despite research showing that politics can be beneficial, a commonly held perception is that politics are negative, harmful, and associated with adverse outcomes. The qualitative differences between positive and negative politics perceptions and their results are still mostly elusive.

This research adds clarity by examining perceptual processes surrounding positive and negative politics perceptions. Using an experimental manipulation, behavior was held constant while political actor motivation was varied. The positive or negative inferred motives and attributions made of the actor related logically to the positive or negative nature of the politics perceptions. Further, attribution type was related to positive or negative political behavior intentions through politics perceptions.

These results expand understanding of positive and negative political behavior and subsequent perceptions, giving emphasis to the importance of perceived motivation and attributions. It further demonstrates how these perceptions relate to political behavior intentions by the observers. In total, it indicates the importance of actor motivations, individual differences within the perceiver, and the political behavior itself in the processes surrounding positive and negative politics perceptions.