Proximity Politics and Valence
Authors: Lilleker, D.G.
One of the key determinants of attitude formation, which can be driven by peripheral processing, is the perception of proximity. If an individual feels close to an organisation or individual, that they represent them in some way, or that they espouse similar values, then that individual would logically be also more likely to offer them electoral support. A degree of cognitive involvement is stimulated through establishing close proximity. Therefore, a perception of close proximity, determined by the communicated behaviour of a political actor, may subsequently situate an individual towards the centre of the processing spectrum. They may well use the individual as a peripheral cue, or a political reference point, but they may also be more likely to listen more closely to their arguments, assimilating their positions with their own, providing those positions do not contrast with their deeply held values. Thus establishing proximity is a crucial dimension for the political persuasion process.