"Understanding Partisan Cue Receptivity: Tests of Predictions from the Bounded Rationality and Expressive Utility Perspectives." The Journal of Politics, 2020.

Bert N. Bakker, Yphtach Lelkes, Ariel Malka

Why do citizens rely on partisan cues when forming political judgments? We assess the relative importance of two motives for partisan cue-following using a series of survey experiments. We find no support for the bounded rationality hypothesis that cue receptivity is highest among citizens with low cognitive resources. Meanwhile, we find mixed support for the expressive utility hypothesis that cue receptivity is highest among people with both a strong partisan social identification and high cognitive resources. The strength of this latter evidence varies across studies, cognitive resource measures, and cue condition comparisons. The results suggest that partisan cue receptivity more often involves an effort to harness cognitive resources for the goal of identity expression than an effort to compensate for low cognitive resources.