Are all conservatives alike? A study of the psychological correlates of cultural and economic conservatism.

University of Oklahoma, Department of Educational Psychology, 820 Van Vleet Oval, Norman, OK 73019, USA.
The Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied (Impact Factor: 0.86). 10/2009; 143(5):449-63. DOI: 10.3200/JRL.143.5.449-463
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The author addresses the question of whether cultural and economic conservatism differ among American citizens in their relation to measures of epistemic beliefs and motives, dogmatism, death-related anxiety, and the tendency to exhibit dogmatic aggression against those who hold beliefs and values that diverge from one's own. Data from this study suggest that these types of conservative attitudes exhibit different correlational patterns with the aforementioned measures. Research participants who held more culturally conservative attitudes were more likely to score higher on measures of the belief that knowledge is certain, dogmatism, need to evaluate, and fear of death. They also scored lower on need for cognition than did their less conservative counterparts. Moreover, participants who scored higher on cultural conservatism were more likely to exhibit dogmatic aggression. Economic conservatism was largely unrelated to measures of epistemic beliefs and motives, fear of death, dogmatism, and aggressiveness. Ancillary regression analyses revealed that belief that knowledge is certain and dogmatism were the strongest predictors of cultural conservatism. Cultural conservatism, fear of death, and need for structure were significant predictors of dogmatic aggression.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The study examined the relationship between the defensive versus existential religious orientation and mortality salience hypothesis in a country where the predominant type of religion is Islam. It was predicted that the mortality reactions of participants would not differ in accordance with their religious orientations within a Muslim sample. The dependent variable tested in the study was conservatism and it was expected that within the Muslim sample both defensively and existentially oriented participants would react to mortality salience manipulation. The defensive participants became more conservative in the mortality salient condition as opposed to failure salience and TV salience conditions. However, contrary to the authors' hypothesis, existential participants did not react to mortality salience manipulation. The results were discussed in accordance with the self-relevance of the conservatism variable, which is the dependent variable of the study. Research implications and suggestions for future studies were also provided.
    Death Studies 10/2011; 35(9):852-65. · 0.92 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Research has widely explored the differences between conservatives and liberals, and it has been also recently demonstrated that conservatives display different reactions toward valenced stimuli. However, previous studies have not yet fully illuminated the cognitive underpinnings of these differences. In the current work, we argued that political ideology is related to selective attention processes, so that negative stimuli are more likely to automatically grab the attention of conservatives as compared to liberals. In Experiment 1, we demonstrated that negative (vs. positive) information impaired the performance of conservatives, more than liberals, in an Emotional Stroop Task. This finding was confirmed in Experiment 2 and in Experiment 3 employing a Dot-Probe Task, demonstrating that threatening stimuli were more likely to attract the attention of conservatives. Overall, results support the conclusion that people embracing conservative views of the world display an automatic selective attention for negative stimuli.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(11):e26456. · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent years have seen a surge in psychological research on the relationship between political ideology (particularly conservatism) and cognition, affect, behaviour, and even biology. Despite this flurry of investigation, however, there is as yet no accepted, validated, and widely used multi-item scale of conservatism that is concise, that is modern in its conceptualisation, and that includes both social and economic conservatism subscales. In this paper the 12-Item Social and Economic Conservatism Scale (SECS) is proposed and validated to help fill this gap. The SECS is suggested to be an important and useful tool for researchers working in political psychology.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(12):e82131. · 3.53 Impact Factor