Christopher M Federico

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Dept of Psychology
N218 Elliott Hall

75 E River Rd

As a researcher and theorist, my interests fall primarily within the domain of political psychology. More precisely, I am interested in how a number of factors “” namely, people's values and beliefs, the structural characteristics of their social environments, and their ability and willingness to use political information “” interact to shape perceptions of the political world and attitudes toward objects in it. Currently, my research is centered on three specific topics: (1) the organization of whites' racial attitudes, with a particular focus on the role of educational attainment; (2) the informational and motivational antecedents of attitude and belief-system structure; and (3) moderators and mediators s of the relationship between epistemic, existential, and relational motivations, and political attitudes.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: University of California, Los Angeles, 2001.
  • M.A.: University of California, Los Angeles, 1996.
  • B.A.: University of California, Berkeley, 1995.

Curriculum Vitae


  • political psychology
  • ideology and belief systems
  • race and politics
  • political knowledge
  • quantitative methods in the social sciences
Courses Taught
  • PolSci 1908W - The Politics of Race in America
  • PolSci 4771 - Racial Attitudes and Intergroup Relations
  • PolSci 8123 - Quantitative Methods in Political Research
  • PolSci 8360 - Social Science Approaches to Inequality
  • Polsci 8360 - Race and Politics
  • Psy 1001 - Introduction to Psychology (Social Week)
  • Psy 3201 - Introduction to Social Psychology
  • Psy 8204 - The Social Psychology of Prejudice and Intergroup Relations
  • Psy 8205/8206 - Research/Principles in Social Psychology
  • Psy 8211/8212 - Proseminar in Political Psychology
  • Psy 8815 - Analysis of Psychological Data
  • Psy 8993/4993 - Research in Intergroup Relations and Political Psychology
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Area Chair, Social Psychology Program, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota:
  • Field Chair, Political Methodology, Department of Political Science, University of Minnesota:
  • Associate Editor, Political Psychology:
  • Director, Center for the Study of Political Psychology, University of Minnesota: 2007 - 2011
  • President, APSA Organized Section on Political Psychology, American Political Science Association: 2008 - 2009
  • Johnston, C. D., Lavine, H. G., & Federico, C. M. (2016). Personality, parties, and the foundations of economic opinion. In press, Cambridge University Press.
  • Federico, C. M., Ekstrom, P., Reifen Tagar, M., & Williams, A. L. (2016). Epistemic motivation and the structure of moral intuition: Dispositional need for closure as a predictor of individualizing and binding morality. European Journal of Personality. doi: 10.1002/per.2055Download
  • Federico, C. M. (2015). The structure, foundations, and expression of ideology. In A. Berinsky (Ed.), New directions in public opinion (2nd ed., pp. 81-103). New York: Routledge.
  • Edmunds, A.J., Federico, C.M., & Mays, L.E. (2015). Etiology of ideology: Origins of the political self through EI Theory, EI Self, and BEVI. In C.N. Shealy (Ed.). Making sense of beliefs and values, 303-330.
  • Federico, C. M., Johnston, C. D., & Lavine, H. G. (2014). Context, engagement, and the (multiple) functions of negativity bias: Commentary on John R. Hibbing, Kevin B. Smith, and John R. Alford, ‘Differences in Negativity Bias Underlie Variations in Political Ideology.’Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, 311-312. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X13001192Download
  • Reifen Tagar, M., Federico, C. M., Lyons, K. E., Ludeke, S., & Koenig, M. A (2014). Heralding the authoritarian? Orientation towards authority in early childhood. Psychological Science, 25, 883-892. Download
  • Federico, C. M., *Ergun, D., & *Hunt, C. V. (2014). Opposition to equality and support for tradition as mediators of the relationship between epistemic motivation and system-justifying identifications. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, Download
  • Weber, C., Lavine, H., Huddy, L., & Federico, C. M. (2014). Placing racial stereotypes in context: Social desirability and the politics of racial hostility. American Journal of Political Science, 58, 63-78. Download
  • Federico, C. M., & Reifen Tagar, M. (2014). Zeroing in on the right: Education and the partisan expression of authoritarianism. Political Behavior, 36, 581-603. Download
  • Jost, J. T., Federico, C. M., & Napier, J. L. (2013). Political ideologies and their social psychological functions. In M. Freeden (Ed.). Handbook of political ideologies, 232-250. Download
  • Federico, C. M., Weber, C. R., *Ergun, D., & *Hunt, C. V. (2013). Mapping the connections between politics and morality: The multiple sociopolitical orientations involved in moral intuition. Political Psychology, 34, 589-610. Download
  • Federico, C. M., Hunt, C. V., & Fisher, E.L. (2013). Uncertainty and status-based asymmetries in the distinction between the "good" us and the "bad" them: Evidence that group status strengthens the relationship between the need for cognitive closure and extremity in intergroup differentiation. Journal of Social Issues, 69, 473-494. Download
  • Federico, C. M., & Hunt, C. V. (2013). Political information, political involvement, and reliance on ideology in political evaluation. Political Behavior, 35, 89-112. Download
  • Weber, C., & Federico, C. M. (2013). Moral foundations and heterogeneity in ideological preferences. Political Psychology, 34, 107-126. Download
  • Federico, Christopher Michael (2012). The social context of racism. In A. Golec de Zavala, Social psychology of social problems: The intergroup context. 30-56. Download
  • Federico, C. M., Deason, G., & Fisher, E. L. (2012). Ideological asymmetry in the relationship between epistemic motivation and political attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 381-398. Download
  • Federico, C. M., & Deason, G. (2012). Uncertainty, insecurity, and ideological defense of the status quo: The extremitizing role of political expertise. In M. A. Hogg & D. L. Blaylock (Eds.). Extremism and the psychology of uncertainty, 197-211. Download
  • Federico, C. M., Fisher, E. L., & Deason, G. (2011). Political expertise and the link between the authoritarian predisposition and conservatism. Public Opinion Quarterly, 75, 686-708. Download
  • Federico, Christopher Michael (2011). Ideology and public opinion. In A. Berinsky (Ed.) New directions in public opinion, 79-100. Download
  • Reifen Tagar, M., Federico, C. M, & Halperin, E. (2011). The positive effect of negative emotions in protracted conflict: The case of anger. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 157-164. Download
  • Borgida, E., Federico, C. M., & Sullivan, J. L., eds. (2009). The political psychology of democratic citizenship. New York: Oxford University.
  • Federico, C. M., Hunt, C. V., & Ergun, D. (2009). Political expertise, social worldviews, and ideology: Translating “competitive jungles“ and “dangerous worlds“ into ideological reality. Social Justice Research, 22, 259-279. (Winner, 2009 Morton Deutsch Award, International Society for Justice Research)Download
  • Goren, P., Federico, C. M., & Kittilson, M. C. (2009). Source cues, partisan identities, and value positions. American Journal of Political Science, 53, 806-820. Download
  • Borgida, E., Federico, C. M., & Sullivan, J. L. (2009). Political psychology and the study of democratic citizenship. In E. Borgida, C. M. Federico, and J. L. Sullivan (Eds.), The political psychology of democratic citizenship (pp. 1-20). New York: Oxford University Press. [Link]
  • Jost, J. T., Federico, C. M., & Napier, J. L. (2009). Political ideology: its structure, functions, and elective affinities. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 307-338. Download
  • Federico, C. M., & Goren, P. (2009). Motivated social cognition and ideology: Is attention to elite discourse a prerequisite for epistemically motivated political affinities? In J. T. Jost, A. C. Kay, and H. Thorisdottir (Eds.), Social and psychological bases of ideology and system justification (pp. 267-291). New York: Oxford University Press. [Link]
  • Fennelly, K., & Federico, C. M. (2008). Rural residence as a determinant of attitudes toward US immigration policy. International Migration 46,, 151-190. Download
  • Ilias, S., Fennelly, K., & Federico, C. M. (2008). American attitudes toward guestworker policies. International Migration Review, 42, 741-766. Download
  • Golec de Zavala, A., Federico, C. M., Cislak, A., & Sigger, J. (2008). Need for closure and conflict-strategy preferences: Experimental evidence for the moderating role of salient conflict schemas. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 84-105. Download
  • Weber, C., & Federico, C. M. (2007). Interpersonal attachment and patterns of ideological belief. Political Psychology, 28, 389-416. Download
  • Federico, C. M., & Schneider, M. (2007). Political expertise and the use of ideology: Moderating effects of evaluative motivation. Public Opinion Quarterly, 71, 221-252.Download
  • Hunt, C. V., Ergun, D., & Federico, C. M. (2008). The relationship between affective states and the structure of political attitudes. Psicologia Politica, 37, 7-28.
  • Federico, C. M. (2007). Expertise, evaluative motivation, and the structure of citizens’ ideological commitments. Political Psychology, 28, 535-562.Download
  • Federico, C. M. (2006b). Ideology and the affective structure of whites’ racial perceptions. Public Opinion Quarterly, 70, 327-353.Download
  • Federico, C. M. (2006a). Race, education, and individualism revisited. Journal of Politics, 68, 600-610. (Winner, 2007 Roberta Sigel Award, International Society of Political Psychology)Download
  • Federico, C. M. (2005b). Education, Ideology, and Racial Ambivalence: Conflict Amplification or Conflict Resolution? In S. C. Craig and M. D. Martinez (Eds.), Ambivalence, Politics, and Public Policy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. [Link]
  • Federico, C. M. & Luks, S. (2005). The political psychology of race. Political Psychology, 26, 661-666. Download
  • Federico, C. M., & Holmes, J. W. (2005). Education and the interface between racial attitudes and criminal-justice attitudes. Political Psychology, 26, 47-76. Download
  • Federico, C. M., Golec, A., & Dial, J. (2005). The Relationship Between Need for Closure and Support for Military Action Against Iraq: Moderating Effects of National Attachment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 621-632.Download
  • Federico, C. M. (2005a). Racial Perceptions and Evaluative Responses to Welfare: Does Education Attenuate Race-of-Target Effects? Political Psychology, 26, 683-698. Download
  • Golec, A., Federico, C. M., Cislak, A., & Dial, J. (2004). Need for closure, national attachment, and attitudes toward international conflict: Distinguishing the roles of patriotism and nationalism. Advances in Psychology Research, 33, 231-251.
  • Golec, A., & Federico, C. M. (2004). Understanding responses to political conflict: Interactive Effects of the need for closure and salient conflict schemas. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 750-762. Download
  • Federico, C. M., & Levin, S. (2004). Intergroup biases as a function of reflected status appraisals and support for legitimizing ideologies: Evidence from the USA and Israel. Social Justice Research, 17, 47-73. Download
  • Federico, C. M. (2004b). Predicting Attitude Extremity: The Interactive Effects of Schema Development and the Need to Evaluate – and Their Mediation by Evaluative Integration. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1281-1294.Download
  • Federico, C. M. (2004a). When do welfare attitudes become racialized? The paradoxical effects of education. American Journal of Political Science, 48, 374-391. [Reprinted in H. Lavine (Ed.), Political Psychology (Volume III: Intergroup Relations and Political Violence). London: Sage Publications, 2010.] Download
  • Morton Deutsch Award, International Society for Justice Research, 2009 (for the paper “Political Expertise, Social Worldviews, and Ideology: Translating “Competitive Jungles? and “Dangerous Worlds? Into Ideological Reality,“ with Corrie V. Hunt and Damla Ergun) , 2010
  • Erik H. Erikson Award for Distinguished Early Career Contribution to Political Psychology, 2007
  • Roberta Sigel Award for Best Paper by a junior Scholar, International Society of Political Psychology, 2007
  • Roberta Sigel Award for Best Paper by a junior Scholar, International Society of Political Psychology, 2007