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Eric Groenendyk
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Assistant Professor of Political Science

Phone:  901-678-3462
Fax:     901-678-2983
Office:  419 Clement Hall

Eric Groenendyk (Ph.D., University of Michigan) joined the department in 2009. His research focuses broadly on public opinion, political behavior, and the role of the citizen in democratic government.

Party identification may be the single most powerful predictor of voting behavior, yet scholars disagree whether this is good or bad for democracy.  Competing Motives in the Partisan Mind (Oxford University Press, 2013) provides a window into the nature of party identification by examining circumstances in which political attitudes and party identities collide. Findings show that individuals devote cognitive resources to defending their party identities against dissonant thoughts, often resorting to elaborate justifications.  However, when cognitive resources are insufficient, these defenses break down and partisans are forced to adjust their identities to reflect disagreements.  In addition, thoughts of civic duty can stimulate responsiveness motivation to the point that it overwhelms partisan motivation, leading individuals to adjust their identities to reflect their disagreements.

In addition to his work on party identification, he also studies emotion in politics. He is particularly interested in the role of anger. In a series of papers, he and his colleagues demonstrate that anger helps citizens to overcome collective action problems, motivates them to expend resources on political participation, and facilitates the development of participatory habits.

In his future research, Professor Groenendyk will continue to investigate the factors that motivate political behavior. He is particularly interested in examining the conditions under which citizens use information efficiently and what causes information to be wasted.

Professor Groenendyk teaches courses in American government, public opinion, political behavior, and methodology.






Groenendyk book


Groenendyk, Eric. (2013) Competing Motives in the Partisan Mind: How Loyalty and Responsiveness Shape Party Identification and Democracy. Oxford University Press.

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Last Updated: 10/11/13