Emily Sydnor

Notable Achievements

In the wake of every election, Tufts University’s Institute for Democracy and Higher Education produces reports detailing overall college student turnout rates and campus-specific turnout for hundreds of college campuses. The 2018 reports came out September 19. Below are some highlights from Southwestern’s report:

    • The 2018 voting rate on SU’s campus was 51.7%! That surpasses both the 30% goal Assistant Professor of Political Science Emily Sydnor encouraged the student organizers to set and the 50% goal they wanted to work toward.
    • Southwestern showed a 33% increase from the voting rate at SU in 2014 and held steady at the rate SU voted in the 2016 presidential election (50% in 2016). As you might imagine, this is unusual for a midterm election.
    • SU’s rate was substantially higher than those of other institutions across the U.S.: 12.6% higher than the average across all institutions. SU’s was also higher than the national rate, which was 49.3%.
    • While turnout was up across the country in 2018, Southwestern’s impressive increase in voting rates was in part the result of concerted get-out-the-vote efforts by Sydnor, Senior Director of Integrative and Community-Engaged Learning Sarah Brackman, Teresa Cropper ’20, Laura Rativa ’20, Camille Martin ’19, Caroline Haywood ’18 and the Office of Community-Engaged Learning. 
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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. 

Emily 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. 

    Emily 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. 

     

    Book: 

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

  • Peer-Reviewed Publications:

    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.

     

    Media and Other Publications: 

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

  • Invited Presentations

    “Signaling Incivility: The Role of Speaker, Substance and Tone” (with Grace Atkins*). National Institute for Civil Discourse 2nd Research Convening, Tucson, AZ (2017).

    “The Interaction of Political Incivility and Psychological Conflict Orientation.” University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication Political Communication Lecture Series, Jan. 23, 2017.

    “Polite Racism and Democratic Outrage: Identifying Political Incivility and Its Effects.” Southwestern University Race and Ethnicity Studies Symposium, Jan. 17, 2017.

    “Civil Discourse.” Colonial Williamsburg Connect Webcast (2012)

     

    Conference Papers

    “Creating Trust in Government” (with Emily Pears). American Political Science Association Political Communication Preconference, Boston, MA (2018)

    “What’s Your Excuse? Effects of Personal and Political Justifications for Flip-Flopping (with Daniel Folsom* and Boris Heersink). Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL (2018).

    “Signaling Incivility: The Role of a Speaker’s Race and Use of Uncivil Language” American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2017).

    “The Emotional Consequences of Political Incivility and Psychological Conflict Orientation.” European Consortium of Political Research Joint Session Workshop on Political Incivility in Parliament, Party Competition and Political Communication, Nottingham, England (2017).

    “The Emotional Consequences of Political Incivility and Psychological Conflict Orientation.” Midwest Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL (2017).

    “Signaling Incivility: The Role of Speaker, Substance and Tone.” (with Grace Atkins). Political Communication Preconference to the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA (2016).

    “Easing Political Digestion: The Effects of News Curation on Citizens.” (with Danielle Psimas). Political Communication Preconference to the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

    “Uncivil Exposure: The Relationship Between Political Incivility, Conflict Orientation, and Selective Exposure.” Annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2014)

    “Psychological Moderators of Information Acquisition: The Case of Conflict Orientation.” Annual meeting of the International Society for Political Psychology, Herzliya, Israel (2013)

    “Fighting Words: The Effects of Conflict Orientation and Civility on Individuals’ Willingness to Engage in Political Discussion.” Annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2013)

    “Ready to Engage: Using Implicit and Explicit Measures of Individual Conflict Orientation to Understand Media Consumption and Political Participation.” Annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2012)

     

    Conference Posters

    “The Interaction of Political Incivility and Psychological Conflict Orientation.” Annual meeting of the Society for Personal and Social Psychology, San Antonio, TX (2017).

    “Conflict Resolution through Selective Exposure: The Effects of Conflict Orientation on Media Choice.” Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2013)

    “Assessing Student Learning in Political Science.” (with Nicole Pankiewicz and Lynn Sanders) Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, IL (2013)


In the News

  • 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.