Notable Achievements

Associate Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor, Gerald Jones ’25, and Adrian Gonzalez ’25 presented their collaborative project, “Unraveling State Identity in the United States,” at the Midwest Political Science Association’s Annual Meeting April 3-5 in Chicago, IL. They were joined at the conference by SU alumna Alesha Lewis ’21, a current PhD student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who presented her first-year graduate paper “Does Racial Trauma Influence Political Behavior in Marginalized People?”

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Expertise

political communication, political psychology, political behavior, public opinion

Emily Sydnor received her PhD from University of Virginia in 2015, her MA from University of Virginia in 2011, and her BA from George Washington University in 2008. 

She specializes in political communication and political psychology, and her research focuses on incivility in the media, its interaction with individual psychological traits, and its influence on political behavior.  She is also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning, particularly assessment and community-engaged learning. 

Dr. Sydnor is affiliated with the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the International Society for Political Psychology.

  • Emily Sydnor received her PhD from University of Virginia in 2015, her MA from University of Virginia in 2011, and her BA from George Washington University in 2008. 

    She specializes in political communication and political psychology, and her research focuses on incivility in the media, its interaction with individual psychological traits, and its influence on political behavior.  She is also interested in the scholarship of teaching and learning, particularly assessment and community-engaged learning. 

    Dr. Sydnor is affiliated with the American Political Science Association, the Midwest Political Science Association, and the International Society for Political Psychology.

  • My research draws on theories and methods from political science, communication and social psychology.  My interdisciplinary approach focuses on the implications of the tone of mediated discourse, and argues that Americans’ non-political predispositions—like their tolerance for conflict or argument—interact with this tone to dictate political behavior. 

    Currently, I’m continuing my work on political incivility by investigating when and under what conditions incivility can be used to successfully further democratic goals. I’m also collaborating with Dr. Emily Pears (Claremont McKenna College) on a book about state identity and its role in contemporary political behavior. 

    Book: 

    Disrespectful Democracy: The Psychology of Political Incivility, available from Columbia University Press

  • Book:

    Disrespectful Democracy: The Psychology of Political Incivility, available from Columbia University Press.

    Peer-Reviewed Publications:

    Santoro, Lauren Ratliff and Emily Sydnor (2023). “Blind Trust, Blind Skepticism: Liberals and Conservatives’ Response to Academic ResearchAmerican Politics Research, OnlineFirst.

    Pears, Emily and Emily Sydnor (2022). “COVID-19 and the Culture of American FederalismRSF: The Journal of the Russell Sage Foundation 8 (8): 181-220.

    Sydnor, Emily, Emily Tesmer* and Breely Peterson*. (2022). “Confronting Politics: The Role of Conflict Orientation in Shaping Political DebateJournal of Deliberative Democracy.

    Pears, Emily, and Emily Sydnor. (2022). “The Correlates and Characteristics of State IdentityPublius: The Journal of Federalism 52(2): 173-200.

    **Winner, John Kincaid Best Article Award from the Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations section of APSA (2023)

    Sydnor, Emily, Margaret Commins and Veronica Reyna (2021). “Empowering and Engaging Students through Civically Engaged ResearchPS: Political Science & Politics, 54(4): 730-733.

    Sydnor, Emily. (2018). “Platforms for Incivility: Examining Perceptions Across MediaPolitical Communication 35 (1): 97-116.

    Sydnor, Emily and Danielle Psimas.* (2017). “Easing Political Digestion: The Effects of News Curation on Citizens Behavior.Journal of Information Technology & Politics 14(3): 189-213.

    Sydnor, Emily and Nicole Pankiewicz. (2017). “Assessing Undergraduate Learning in Political Science: Development and Implementation of the PACKS SurveyPS: Political Science & Politics 50(1): 204-208.

    Book Chapters

    Sydnor, Emily. (2021). “Look for the Motives Behind (Un)civil Speech” in Fixing American Politics: Civic Priorities for the Media Age, Roderick P. Hart, ed. New York: Routledge.

    Flores, Madison*, Megan Nair*, Meredith Rasmussen* and Emily Sydnor. (2021). “Civility through Comparative Lens: Challenges and Achievements” in Crossing Boundaries: Political Incivility in the Parliamentary, Electoral and Media Arena. Annemarie Walter, ed. New York: Routledge.

    Sydnor, Emily (2019). “Signaling Incivility: The Role of Speaker, Substance and Tone” in A Crisis of Civility? Contemporary Research on Civility, Incivility and Political Discourse. Robert G. Boatright, Timothy J. Shaffer, Sarah Sobieraj, and Dannagal Goldthwaite Young, eds. New York: Routledge.

    Book Reviews & Reports

    Sydnor, Emily (2023). Review of What Goes Without Saying: Navigating Political Discussion in America. By Taylor N. Carlson and Jaime Settle. Public Opinion Quarterly.

    Sydnor, Emily (2021). “With Laughter and a Little Follow-Through: Moving from Hobbyist to Activist” Journal of Politics.

    Sydnor, Emily (2020). “Watching the ‘Partisan Circus:’ Civility in the Texas Senatorial Debates.” in Civility and the 2018 U.S. Senate Debates, Robert G. Boatright, ed. Tucson, AZ: National Institute for Civil Discourse.

    Sydnor, Emily (2020). “From ‘Clown’ to ‘Community’: The Democratic Potential of Civility and Incivility” in U.S. Elections Analysis 2020: Media, Voters and the Campaign, Danielle Coombs, Dan Jackson, Darren Lilleker, Einar Thorsen and Filippo Trevisan, eds. Poole, England: The Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community.

    Media and Other Publications: 

    Does Incivility Hurt Democracy? Here’s What Political Science Can Tell Us.” Washington Post, June 27, 2018. 


In the News

  • Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor Talks with NPR

    Sydnor says hearing about Texas guardsmen’s experiences could end up swaying some Republican voters in the primary.

  • Professor Emily Sydnor featured in Washington Post

    The Washington Post political science blog The Monkey Cage published Sydnor’s piece about the MLB World Series, the booing of President Donald Trump during game five, and the findings from her new book.

  • Voting on Southwestern University Campus up in 2018

    According to a national study, college-student voting doubled nationwide, and SU surpassed other institutions’ voting rate.

  • Championing Civil Discourse in an Era of Partisan Rancor

    Southwestern students tackle the complexities of political division.