Winkielman, P. & Berridge, K. C. (2003). Irrational wanting and sub-rational liking: How rudimentary motivational and affective processes shape preferences and choices. Political Psychology, 24, 657-680.


People’s wanting and liking reactions reflect not only high-level beliefs, but also the operation of rudimentary biopsychological processes. Previous studies suggest that the following wanting and liking processes may be relevant to political behavior: Irrational wanting (where wanting is triggered by activation of the brain dopamine system and becomes dissociated from liking); unconscious liking and wanting (where evaluative judgments and behavior are modified without awareness of the eliciting affective stimuli or of the underlying affective response); and fluency-based liking (where preferences are influenced by the ease of stimulus processing). This review suggests how conceptual and methodological tools from affective neuroscience and psychophysiology can refine our understanding of basic affective and motivational processes that shape political attitudes and choices.