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Patterson studies the theory, application, and impact of deliberative models of civic engagement, and how these models shape both policy and the relationship between citizens and government. Specifically, his research explores how conceptions of public reason inform deliberative institutional design, and the impact these design choices have on policy, public trust, and civic capacity. Patterson is currently conducting research on how administrative perceptions of public capacity and motivation impact deliberative civic engagement in the siting of homeless resource centers.
Reviews Demasio's exploration of the neuroscience behind the process of reasoning, and engages his argument for the interdependence of reason and emotion in the decision-making process. Emphasizes the implications of his findings for scholars and practitioners of public administration, highlighting the value of the author's empirically-grounded research as an alternative approach to considering the role of emotion and reason in deliberative decision-making.