Lucian Gideon Conway

Lucian Gideon Conway
Grove City College

Ph.D. in Social Psychology (University of British Columbia)

About

106
Publications
46,208
Reads
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2,531
Citations
Citations since 2016
51 Research Items
1688 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400
Additional affiliations
August 2004 - present
The University of Montana
Position
  • Professor (Associate)

Publications

Publications (106)
Article
Research suggests that the integrative complexity of political rhetoric tends to drop during election season, but little research to date directly addresses if this drop in complexity serves to increase or decrease electoral success. The two present studies help fill this gap. Study 1 demonstrates that, during the Democratic Party primary debates i...
Article
Integrative complexity is a conceptually unique and very popular measurement of the complexity of human thought. We believe, however, that it is currently being underutilized because it takes quite a bit of time to score. More time-efficient computer-based measurements of complexity that are currently available are correlated with integrative compl...
Article
Are highly heritable attitudes more or less complex than less heritable attitudes? Over 2,000 participant responses on topics varying in heritability were coded for overall integrative complexity and its 2 subcomponents (dialectical complexity and elaborative complexity). Across different heritability sets drawn from 2 separate prior twin research...
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary U.S. culture has a highly individualistic ethos. Nevertheless, exactly how this ethos was historically fostered remains unanalyzed. A new model of dynamic cultural change maintains that sparsely populated, novel environments that impose major threats to survival, such as the Western frontier in the United States during the 18th and 19t...
Article
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Integrative complexity broadly measures the structural complexity of statements. This breadth, although beneficial in multiple ways, can potentially hamper the development of specific theories. In response, the authors developed a model of complex thinking, focusing on 2 different ways that people can be complex within the integrative complexity sy...
Preprint
Left-Wing Authoritarianism (LWA) is an increasingly popular psychological construct, and yet to date the shortest general questionnaire available to measure it is thirteen items. In the present project, we develop a four-item LWA scale that is available for free academic use. We evaluated items for the scale using two broad criteria: (1) Item-level...
Article
Are U.S. political leaders becoming simpler in their rhetoric? To evaluate, we place the two most recent Presidents’ integrative complexity against a historical context for three different types of comparable materials. Results reveal that both Biden and Trump are simple when compared to the typical President. Further, segmented regression analyses...
Article
Asian social psychology has often focused on East/West comparisons. However, a latitudinal psychology perspective suggests that cultures will vary in predictable ways along north/south (latitudinal) gradients, rather than along east/west (longitudinal) gradients. We apply this perspective to better understand the geographical placement of literacy...
Article
The study of authoritarianism has a long history in the field of psychology; however, much of this research focuses on Western countries, especially the United States. In effort to better understand authoritarianism cross-culturally, we explore the current state of authoritarianism in an important cultural context: Russia. Thus, the current paper e...
Article
Good government is vital to human society. But what proximal and distal factors influence this collective goodness perception? Here, we investigate how and why multi-component evaluations by many institutional observers of public governance vary along the north-south rather than east-west axis of the Earth. Across 190 countries, we show that govern...
Preprint
Are American political leaders becoming simpler in their rhetoric? To evaluate, in the present study we place the two most recent U.S. presidents’ integrative complexity against a historical context for three different types of comparable materials: Presidential Debates, Inaugural Addresses, and State of the Union (SOTU) speeches. Results overwhelm...
Article
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Previous work from a socio-ecological perspective reveals that ecological stress has important effects on political, cultural, and psychological outcomes. However, that work has been limited by (1) a focus on distal forms of ecological stress that are hard for societies to control, and (2) a lack of large-scale conceptual replications. The present...
Article
Given research revealing conservatives are more sensitive to disease threat, it is curious that U.S. conservatives were less concerned than liberals with the COVID-19 pandemic. Across four studies that spanned almost ten months throughout the pandemic, we evaluated three potential reasons why conservatives were less concerned: (1) Motivated Politic...
Article
Full-text available
Left‐wing authoritarianism (LWA) has a controversial history in psychology. Some researchers have expressed skepticism about the existence of LWA, whereas others have argued that LWA is a valid construct. In the present article, we offer a framework to reconcile these two perspectives by proposing that ideologically based authoritarian norms are so...
Preprint
Full-text available
Left-Wing Authoritarianism (LWA) has a controversial history in psychology. Some researchers have expressed skepticism about the existence of LWA, whereas others have argued that LWA is a valid construct. In the present article, we offer a framework to reconcile these two perspectives by proposing that ideologically-based authoritarian norms are so...
Article
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Researchers have long assumed that complex thinking is determined by both situational factors and stable, trait-based differences. However, although situational influences on complexity have been discussed at length in the literature, there is still no comprehensive integration of evidence regarding the theorized trait component of cognitive comple...
Preprint
Full-text available
Is left-wing authoritarianism (LWA) closer to a myth or a reality? Twelve studies test the empirical existence and theoretical relevance of LWA. Study 1 reveals that both conservative and liberal Americans identify a large number of left-wing authoritarians in their lives. In Study 2, participants explicitly rate items from a recently-developed LWA...
Article
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Famous trials not only generate immense popularity and intrigue, they also have the power to change history. Surprisingly, little research examines the use of complex language during these culturally-significant trial outcomes. In the present study, we helped fill in this gap by evaluating the relationship between attorneys’ use of integratively co...
Article
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Computer algorithms that analyze language (natural language processing systems) have seen a great increase in usage recently. While use of these systems to score key constructs in social and political psychology has many advantages, it is also dangerous if we do not fully evaluate the validity of these systems. In the present article, we evaluate a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Given that much research suggests conservatives are more sensitive to disease threat, it is curious that conservatives in the U.S. seem less concerned than liberals with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Across three studies totaling nearly 1,000 participants, we evaluated two different potential reasons why conservatives are less concerned: Exp...
Preprint
Major journals have sounded the call for social psychologists to do research on the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Such research is only as good as the measurements used. Across three studies (total n = 984), we developed a battery of social psychology-relevant questionnaires to measure COVID-19 phenomena: (1) Perceived Coronavirus Threat Questionna...
Article
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Haslam, Reicher, and Van Bavel (2019) convincingly argued that experimenters in the Stanford Prison Experiment (SPE) influenced prisoners via identity-based communication. However, Haslam et al. focused on direct mechanisms of identity communication. In our comment, we discuss a less direct-but potentially equally important-communication mechanism...
Article
Currently, positive psychology is experiencing problems with coherence, and the field could benefit from more organizing concepts linking disparate findings and researchers within the field. This incoherence can be seen in several domains. At a conceptual level, the field has produced an abundance of important studies clarifying predictors of well-...
Article
To what degree is cognitive complexity an individual difference that is stable across time and across domains? Despite the historical importance of cognitive complexity, surprisingly little research addresses this question. In the present paper, we analyze data from 5 different samples (total n > 5000) that look at the across-domain and across-time...
Article
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Poor air quality contributes to nearly 7 million premature deaths annually and remains a major public health concern. In order to directly address the future of air quality and current emissions, some economists and policy makers have stressed adopting a “zero discount rate” (or lowest possible) to promote clean air quality now and in the future. A...
Article
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Individuals' political ideologies influence almost every aspect of life. But where do political ideologies come from? In this article, we discuss new research on socio-ecological influences on political ideology. This emerging body of work reveals that the presence of ecological stressors (including disease, harsh climates, frontier topography, wil...
Article
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Does believing in torture’s effectiveness shape the endorsements of its use? Using a multi-method approach across 6 studies, we provide converging evidence that efficacy beliefs can help increase understanding of individual differences and situational influences on torture support. Studies 1a and 1b found that torture opinions contained more effica...
Article
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Research on the relationship between political conservatism and integrative complexity has yielded contradictory results, and little effort has been made to place these mixed results in a theoretical context. The present article considers this issue through a strategic model of language that suggests different psychological processes apply to publi...
Article
Recent research suggests authoritarianism may play a key role in election outcomes, yet that work has focused almost exclusively on right-wing authoritarianism. In the present work, we compare the ability of Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Left-Wing Authoritarianism (LWA) to predict support for candidates during two U.S. Presidential election...
Article
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Is political pressure effective at producing pro-environmental action? While political pressure can have benefits, it may also sow the seeds for long-term backlash because it psychologically contaminates any emerging consensus. Three studies demonstrate the value of considering this psychological contamination perspective across three different env...
Article
The present study uses regression analysis of existing cross‐national data sets to demonstrate that ingroup–outgroup discrimination and intergroup conflict management vary more along the north–south (latitudinal) axis than along the east–west axis of the Earth. Ingroup favoritism, outgroup rejection, political oppression, legal discrimination, and...
Article
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Nature exposure has been linked to a plethora of health benefits, but the mechanism for this effect is not well understood. We conducted two studies to test a new model linking the health benefits of nature exposure to reduced impulsivity in decision-making (as measured by delay discounting) via psychologically expanding space perception. In study...
Article
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Laws that restrict citizens exist in every form of government. Although previous research has shown that legal restriction is tied to culture-level variables such as collectivism, we propose and test a novel interactive model specifying that the culture-legal restriction relationship will depend on the level of democracy or autocracy present in the...
Article
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Stereotypical views cast religious believers as closed-minded, unthinking individuals, and irreligious persons as comparatively more intellectual and complex. But are these perceptions accurate? To investigate, three studies assessed differences between religious and irreligious thinking on Integrative Complexity (IC). In Study 1, six atheist–Chris...
Article
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Although past research suggests authoritarianism may be a uniquely right-wing phenomenon, the present two studies tested the hypothesis that authoritarianism exists in both right-wing and left-wing contexts in essentially equal degrees. Across two studies, university (n = 475) and Mechanical Turk (n = 298) participants completed either the RWA (rig...
Article
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The predictive power of integrative complexity and its subtypes is both well-documented and thoroughly researched, but the bulk of the research on the variable occurs within political psychology. Below, we present 2 studies that show integrative complexity’s validity in understanding the psychology of entertainment and pop culture. In both studies,...
Data
Objective: Motivational Interviewing (MI) is the only treatment approach recommended in the clinical practice guidelines for smokers who are not motivated to quit immediately. The present study adds to other recent research on why and when Motivational Interviewing (MI) works by investigating a new potential mechanism: Integrative complexity. Set...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Motivational interviewing (MI) is a widely used and promising treatment approach for aiding in smoking cessation. The present observational study adds to other recent research on why and when MI works by investigating a new potential mechanism: integrative complexity. Setting The study took place in college fraternity and sorority chapte...
Article
Full-text available
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) became an increasingly powerful terrorist organisation in a relatively short period of time, drawing more recruits than its former affiliate, Al Qaeda. Many have attributed ISIL’s successful expansion in part to its extensive propaganda platform. But what causes terrorist groups to be effective in the...
Article
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It is hardly surprising that almost everything about human life is influenced by politics. In this special issue of Translational Issues in Psychological Science (TPS), you will find articles that look at both the causes of political behavior and the consequences of it; some articles examine proximal influences whereas others examine more distal fa...
Article
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What kinds of physical environments make for free societies? The present research investigates the effect of three different types of ecological stressors (climate stress, pathogen stress, and frontier topography) on two measurements of governmental restriction: Vertical restriction involves select persons imposing asymmetrical laws on others, whil...
Article
To what degree is complex language driven by personal cognitive factors versus strategic self-presentation? Studies teasing apart these two influences on complexity are hard to design and evidence bearing on the question is not abundant. To fill this gap, the present studies explored two models relevant to a form of communication full of strategic...
Article
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Donald Trump has consistently performed better politically than his negative polling indicators suggested he would. Although there is a tendency to think of Trump support as reflecting ideological conservatism, we argue that part of his support during the election came from a non-ideological source: The preponderant salience of norms restricting co...
Chapter
Positive psychologists who decline to involve themselves in government policy issues may be similar to medical doctors who refuse to work in hospitals or clinics. Both the positive psychologist and the doctor may greatly reduce their positive effect if they avoid involvement in these institutions that widely impact the population. This chapter expl...
Article
Full-text available
Is fiction a reflection of reality? Previous psychological research presents a contradicting picture. While Tetlock’s value pluralism model (Tetlock, 1986) and research focused on the complexity of lying (Repke, Conway, & Houck, in press; Newman, Pennebaker, Berry, & Richards, 2003) would argue against fiction being a reflection, the concept of pro...
Article
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It has been an accepted scientific fact in physics for almost 100 years that time speeds up and slows down for an observer based on factors—such as motion and gravity—that affect space. Yet this fact, drawn from the theory of relativity, has not been widely integrated into the study of the psychology of time. The present article helps to fill in th...
Article
While prior research has found linguistic complexity to be predictive across multiple domains, little research has examined how people perceive—or misperceive—linguistic complexity when they encounter it. Drawing from a model of the motivated ideological lens through which people view linguistic complexity, two studies examined the hypotheses that...
Poster
Full-text available
There is a growing perception that ISIL is different from more traditional terrorist groups, yet there is limited research comparing ISIL to other groups. To investigate, we examined one aspect of terrorists’ thoughts: Integrative complexity. Findings revealed that (a) ISIL was less complex than a representative sample of Western political material...
Article
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Impulsivity in delay discounting is associated with maladaptive behaviors such as over-eating and drug and alcohol abuse. Researchers have recently noted that delay discounting , even when measured by a brief laboratory task, may be the best predictor of human health related behaviors (e.g., exercise) currently available. Identifying techniques to...
Article
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Prior research suggests that liberals are more complex than conservatives. However, it may be that liberals are not more complex in general, but rather only more complex on certain topic domains (while conservatives are more complex in other domains). Four studies (comprised of over 2,500 participants) evaluated this idea. Study 1 involves the doma...
Poster
Full-text available
Are people more likely to reveal secret information when in physical pain? To investigate, participants played a game that was designed to be a proxy of an interrogation scenario. As part of the game, participants were instructed to keep specific information hidden from an opponent. Participants played the game with their hand fully submerged in va...
Article
Full-text available
Torture’s effectiveness is a frequently debated yet under-researched topic. This article describes a new experimental method to ethically investigate one component of torture: The influence of physical pain on people’s decisions to reveal secret or false information. In particular, participants played a game that was designed to be a proxy of an in...
Article
Full-text available
Psychological research on the efficacy of torture frequently excludes an important question: What causes people to believe that torture is effective? We investigated whether a factor increasing persons' desire for torture to be effective might lead them to perceive that it was more effective. Across 2 studies, participants evaluated hypothetical cr...
Article
Automating integrative complexity is fraught with many challenges. To address these challenges, we discuss the tension between a specificity approach and a more flexible multiple-pass approach, the multifaceted nature of the complexity construct, the gold standard for complexity measurement, the difficulty of human scoring and its consequences for...
Poster
Full-text available
Prior research suggests people’s abstract views of torture are often negative. We suspected, however, that those views might not fully represent torture perceptions in a scenario where they felt closeness to the potential victims. To test this idea, participants read a scenario about a crisis situation and completed measurements of their support fo...
Chapter
In the present chapter, we discuss this dilemma between individual freedom and the collective good through the lens of regional differences in individualism/collectivism. What we ultimately aim to show is that considering regional differences in individualism/collectivism helps us better understand fundamental aspects of culture, aspects we would n...
Chapter
Cultural transmission is the transference of belief, preferences, and social norms from one set of people to another. This broad definition includes a wide range of potential influences; thus, it is perhaps not surprising that research in cultural transmission spans many different disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, political science, p...
Chapter
In 2001, Peter Knight entered a fertility clinic near Melbourne, Australia with kerosene, torches, ropes, gags, and ammunition. Knight intended to massacre everyone present in the clinic that day as a violent protest against abortion. When the clinic's security guard attempted to intervene, he was shot and killed. From 1978 to 1995, Ted Kaczynski,...
Article
Full-text available
Prior research suggests people's abstract views of torture are often negative. We suspected, however, that those views might not fully represent torture perceptions in a scenario where they felt closeness to the potential victims. To test this idea, participants read a scenario about a crisis situation and completed measurements of their support fo...
Chapter
The aspiration to be a high achiever is not unique to any one culture. Achievement, unlike some of the values in the Schwartz hierarchy, is considered truly pan-cultural. Keywords: Shalom H. Schwartz; Self And Identity; Universals
Chapter
The aspiration to be a high achiever is not unique to any one culture. Achievement, unlike some of the values in the Schwartz hierarchy, is considered truly pan-cultural. Consequently, it would not be unusual to meet a high achiever regardless of where you find yourself. In fact, you might be a high achiever. Keywords: cross-cultural psychology;...
Poster
Full-text available
We compared the public rhetoric of two terrorist groups to ideologically-similar non-terrorist groups on integrative complexity and its two sub-components (dialectical complexity and elaborative complexity). We further attempted to use these constructs to understand when the two focal terrorists groups engaged in violent acts. Results suggested tha...
Article
Full-text available
Based on a deductive, culturally decentered approach, new items were generated to improve the reliability of the original Social Axioms Survey, which measures individuals’ general beliefs about the world. In Study 1, results from 11 countries support the original five-factor structure and achieve higher reliability for the axiom dimensions as measu...
Article
Items were generated to explore the factorial structure of a construct of fundamentalism worded appropriately for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Results suggested three underlying dimensions: (a) External versus Internal Authority, (b) Fixed versus Malleable Religion, and (c) Worldly Rejection versus Worldly Affirmation. The three dimensions ind...
Article
Full-text available
The linguistic content analyses systems used in the present special issue covered a large range of conceptual and methodological approaches from many of the major researchers in the field. Taking a broad view of this massive set of results, what can we learn about terrorist groups' rhetoric? We present here a summary set of analyses that suggests t...
Article
Full-text available
We compared the public rhetoric of two terrorist groups to ideologically-similar non-terrorist groups on integrative complexity and its two sub-components (dialectical complexity and elaborative complexity). We further attempted to use these constructs to understand when the two focal terrorist groups engaged in violent acts. Results suggested that...
Article
Full-text available
Two kinds of evolutionary processes inform psychological research on stereotypes and prejudices. One is a process through which genetic variants are selectively transmitted from individuals to their offspring through sexual reproduction; this process has shaped psychological mechanisms that characterize contemporary human populations. The other is...
Article
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Do norms compelling self-censorship of negative communication work? An attributional analysis suggests that awareness of self-censorship norms causes people to be suspicious of other people's positive communications about groups, thus causing the norms to backfire. Three studies tested this informational contamination hypothesis. Participants read...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined whether quantitative content analysis of the value references, motive imagery, and integrative complexity expressed in the documents of two terrorist groups and two nonterrorist comparison groups could distinguish the violent groups from their nonviolent counterparts. The two terrorist groups were Central al Qa'ida and al Qa'ida...
Article
Although U.S. presidents are one of the most studied groups of political figures and integrative complexity is one of the most widely used constructs in political psychology, no study to date has fully examined the integrative complexity of all U.S. presidents. The present study helps fill in that gap by scoring 41 U.S. presidents' first four State...
Conference Paper
We propose that because humans have a deep-rooted implicit tendency to imitate others, long-term deviance from others’ beliefs and behaviors requires effortful thought. This perspective has multiple consequences for our understanding of how and when cultural beliefs spread, and we present evidence for three different consequences. Study 1 demonstra...
Article
Full-text available
This article provides evidence for a link between cultural collectivism and indexes of governmentally initiated restriction both across nations and within one nation, both cross-sectionally and longitudinally. In Investigation 1, across U.S. states, an index of legislative restriction is positively related to an index of collective behaviors. In In...