Are all conservatives alike? A study of the psychological correlates of cultural and economic conservatism.
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.
Article: The automatic conservative: ideology-based attentional asymmetries in the processing of valenced information.[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. · 4.09 Impact Factor