Some of the findings of my research on persuasion and emotions are:

  • The use of emotional appeals (fear, enthusiasm) in election campaigns substantially drives media coverage (ref)

  • Campaigns of populist candidates contain much more fear appeals than campaigns of non-populist candidates (ref)

  • Sequences of messages with the same valence (positive/negative) are more likely to persuade: Being exposed to a higher volume of negative messages often depresses evaluations of the target, whereas being exposed to a higher volume of positive messages enhances evaluation of the sponsor (ref)

  • Anxiety lowers resistance to persuasion (ref)

  • Emotional appeals attract the attention of the media (ref)

  • Narcissists are more likely to be influenced by persuasive messages (work in progress)


Maier, J., & Nai, A. (2020). Roaring candidates in the spotlight. Campaign negativity, emotions, and media coverage in 107 national elections. The International Journal of Press/Politics (forthcoming).

Nai, A. (2020). The Trump paradox: How cues from a disliked source foster resistance to persuasion. Politics & Governance, 8(1), 122-132.

Gerstlé, J., & Nai, A. (2019). Negativity, emotionality and populist rhetoric in election campaigns worldwide, and their effects on media attention and electoral successEuropean Journal of Communication, 34(4) 410–444.

Nai, A. (2018). Fear and loathing in populist campaigns? Comparing the communication style of populists and non-populists in elections worldwide. Journal of Political Marketing. doi: 10.1080/15377857.2018.1491439

Nai, A., and Seeberg, HB. (2018). A series of persuasive events. Sequencing effects of negative and positive messages on party evaluations and perceptions of negativity. Journal of Marketing Communications24(4): 412-432.

Nai, A., Schemeil, Y. and Marie, J.-L. (2017). Anxiety, Sophistication, and Resistance to Persuasion: Evidence from a Quasi-experimental Survey on Global Climate Change. Political Psychology, 38(1): 137-156.