ENCODE: understanding the role of emotions in political decisions

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It is clear that negative emotions are key influencers in our daily decisions and the decision-making process. In the political spheres, an over representation of negative emotions can increase the risk of social and political divisions, trust erosion in democratic institutions, and fueling the rise of populism. People’s frustrations and negative feelings, amplified by social media, lead to greater social fragmentation and political deadlock, making it difficult to address major societal challenges.

Launched in 26th June 2024, in Łódź, Poland, the Encode project aims to understand the role of emotions in political decisions. Encode, which stands for “Unveiling emotional dimensions of politics to foster European democracy,” seeks to examine political tensions threatening European democracy through the lens of emotions. The project investigates how our emotional responses influence susceptibility to disinformation.

In the next three years, Encode plans to design a unique sentiment analysis method and through it, research the role of emotions in political situations. By the end, Encode will develop a set of best practices for creating policies based on citizen engagement in touch with the emotional dimension of political decision-making. These strategies will be a major tool to build emotional connections between citizens, enhance trust in governments, and improve communication across the political spectrum.

RIE is supporting the Encode project through the research and creating phases. Thanks to our established experienced in narrative analysis and methodology, RIE’s expertise will be essential to framing the research of the Encode project. Additionally, RIE will support the transformation of research result into actionable policy pointers for European level policymakers.

The rest of the consortium includes other experienced and acclaimed organisations such as ASM, the University of Wroclaw, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Vienna, PredictBy, the European Centre for Populism Studies and the Center for the Study of Democracy.