About Frank Gonzalez
Frank is an Assistant Professor in the School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP). He received his Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in May 2017. He received a Master of Arts in Political Science at UNL, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Delaware in 2011. His research strengths lay primarily in political psychology, experimental design and quantitative methods. His current research involves using theories from social neuroscience to understand how people place themselves in groups in society, how group-related attitudes interact with “higher-level” ideological principles, and how this interaction impacts political opinions and behaviors.
Frank is also heavily engaged in several other research agendas, which address questions such as: why people are liberal or conservative, what sorts of language Democratic and Republican elites use, how people perceive ideologically extreme and moderate candidates, how disease salience influences policy attitudes, how to cultivate democratic deliberation via group discussions, and why people feel the way they do about income inequality. He has been published in political science journals such as Political Communication and Political Research Quarterly as well as psychology journals such as Behavioural Brain Research and Judgment and Decision Making.
Areas of Study
Biology and Politics
Race and Politics:
How do “gut-level” group/racial biases influence political attitudes in light of nonracial ideological principles and social norms of egalitarianism? Can people not control their prejudices?
What explains the role of prejudice in driving attitudes toward government assistance? Are people favoring their ingroup or justifying the status quo (and thus even groups at “the bottom” will oppose assistance)? Or, are people simply valuing individualistic principles like work ethic and self-reliance?
Why do people feel they way they do about income inequality? Is it more about stereotypes and feelings toward the rich and the poor, or is it about the system more broadly?
What explains how people would want income inequality to be addressed, if at all? Should we provide more government assistance programs, increase taxes on the wealthy, raise the minimum wage, or restructure the entire system?
More broadly, what makes people support “the system”? Why do some people feel the need to preserve hierarchy, order, and often inequality while others do not?
Public Deliberation (About Science):
What are the personality and contextual factors that encourage open-minded deliberation between citizens?
Are citizens capable of deliberating “rationally” about science, or will predispositions and cognitive biases reign? Do people learn anything about scientific issues through deliberation?
What are the ramifications of discussing issues of science in groups? Are several heads better than one, or do people double down on their preexisting opinions? Or, do people conform to their group, causing polarization?
Ph.D. in Political Science, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2017
M.A. in Political Science, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2013
B.A. in Psychology, University of Delaware, 2011
POL330: Minority Groups and Politics
POL625: Political Psychology