Sean Westwood

Sean Westwood is a PhD Candidate in Political Communication at Stanford University. His book, The Impression of Influence: How Legislator Communication and Government Spending Cultivate a Personal Vote (with Justin Grimmer and Solomon Messing) is forthcoming from Princeton University Press. Sean studies political representation and political behavior, examining how partisan cues and signals from political elites affect the behavior of citizens. He is an experimentalist who develops novel experimental designs to show the causal effects of information on political outcomes, including demonstrating that partisan cues alter decision-making in political and apolitical contexts, and exploring the role of simple partisan heuristics—cognitive shortcuts used to quickly make decisions—in citizen decision-making. Sean writes his own software to provide stimuli in ecologically valid settings (by email and on Facebook), over long periods of time, and outside of survey settings, and conducts survey experiments in which he writes software to embed real information on participants’ actual legislators and present news and information in settings that visually mimic news websites. He will augment experimental results with large-scale computational text analyses and other observational analyses.