Conflict frames and emotional reactions: a story about the Spanish Indignados

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Negative emotions are becoming increasingly important in framing studies, but they are seldom considered as primary research objects. This leaves a series of questions unanswered, such as whether framing effects on emotions are direct or conditioned to individuals’ previous attitudes, or whether such effects are different for specific negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety. On the other hand, conflict is a central concept in framing studies and public opinion, but it has never been systematically operationalized in this research area. As a result of these two shortcomings, no study to date has addressed the effects of conflict frames on citizens’ emotions. This work intends to do so by means of an experiment which implements a gradual operationalization of conflict frames using a story about the Spanish Indignados movement. The empirical analyses confirm a net effect of the intensity of the conflict on anxiety and, especially, anger. Furthermore, previous sympathy for the social movement featured in the story and individual’s ideology enhance the emotional effects of conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-465
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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