counterfactualsCatellani, P. (2011). In Birke, D., Butter, M., & Koeppe T. (a cura di), Counterfactual thinking/Counterfactual writing, De Gruyter, Berlino/New York, pp. 81-94. pdf

ISBN 978-3-11-026866-9

Politicians can use counterfactual communication to promote their own representations of past political events, to defend themselves, to attack their adversaries, and, more generally, to influence citizens’ representation of political reality and of politicians. In this chapter, we focus on two main questions: a) What counterfactuals do politicians use in discourse? b) What effects do these counterfactuals have on voters? In addressing these questions, we build on what previous psychological research has shown regarding counterfactual thinking and its relations with other psychological processes, such as causal reasoning, emotional reactions, and decision making.


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Patrizia Catellani

Professore ordinario
di Psicologia Sociale
Dipartimento di Psicologia
Università Cattolica di Milano
Largo Gemelli, 1
I-20123 Milano
Tel: 02-72342906
Cell.: 3356741468
Fax: 02-72342280
E-mail: patrizia.catellani@unicatt.it