Political Conditioning

Authors: Lilleker, D.G.

Pages: 65-79

DOI: 10.1057/9781137313430_4


Citizens of a society are encouraged to think about politics within specific frames, frames determined by the societies in which they live. These frames are learned through socialisation processes that condition citizens; conditioning refers to learned responses to external stimuli that determine cognition and behaviour. Basically society shapes the typical responses to messages, instructions or actions of others. Shaking hands, kissing cheeks, smiling back when someone smiles at us, they are all conditioned responses; but so are the ways we respond to communication that calls on us to participate politically, as a citizen perhaps, or even whether we listen or not to a piece of communication. As members of democratic societies, for example, there are various meanings attached to the concepts of democracy and citizenship. Each schema for politics will be a collection of values, beliefs and experiential knowledge, which ultimately forms an individual’s attitudes. This collection of items will define the political institutions of the nation, to some extent, their faults and how the nation differs from others. Information stored in a schema will act as a baseline from which to judge new information.

Source: Scopus