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


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.

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Available from: H. Michael Crowson, Feb 20, 2015
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    • "Social, or cultural, conservatism refers to the “preservation of ancient moral traditions of humanity” and includes the assumption that “political problems at bottom are religious and moral problems” ([13] – p.8). In contrast, economic conservatism refers to a dimension of attitudes that are concerned with the involvement of the government and the regulation of private enterprise in the economic lives of its citizens [14], [15]. "
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    • "Right-Wing-Authoritarianism (RWA; Duckitt, Wagner, du Plessis, & Birum, 2002; Ekehammar, Akrami, Gylje, & Zakrisson, 2004; Peterson, Doty, & Winter, 1993), Need for Cognition (NFC; Condra, 1992; Holbrook, 2006; Crowson, 2009 "
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    • "More specifically, in Experiment 3 participants were asked to complete the very same task presented in Experiment 2 and their need for closure and need for cognition were also assessed. Moreover, in Experiment 3 the measure of political ideology comprised items related to both social and economic issues [28], [29]. We predicted that, as demonstrated in Experiment 2, conservatives, as compared to liberals, would be more likely attracted by negative stimuli, and would thus be faster to detect a probe appearing in the same spatial location of such negative stimuli, even when other specific individual differences (i.e., need for closure and need for cognition) are taken under control. "
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