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Ideologies that justify political violence

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Abstract

The present review identifies a variety of tactics that are often employed by ideologies to promote and/or justify political violence. The review builds on a social psychological framework that identifies important existential and epistemic needs that motivate individuals to become ideological extremists and discusses the mechanisms through which ideological narratives that promote political violence can serve these needs. We end the review by discussing two broad variants of ideology (religious and conservative) that should be particularly apt at implementing these tactics.

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... We assessed over 60 criterion-related variables across the six samples (see Table 2). Due to the relative paucity of research exploring LWA, and left-wing political extremism more generally (but see Kruglanski et al., 2020), little is known about the traits, attitudes, and behaviors that reflect LWA. We considered RWA's nomological network to afford a general framework for establishing the LWA Index's convergent and discriminant validity, but also anticipated that LWA and RWA's nomological networks would differ in important ways, as we describe below. ...
... The protests included mostly peaceful behavior, but they also included some violent protest behavior, such as burning police stations and cars, destroying property, and throwing projectiles at police officers and political opponents. Given that RWA and SDO predict pro-state violence, LWA should predict anti-state violence (Webber et al., 2020). Hence, the protests afforded an opportunity for a unique test of LWA's explanatory power for real-world behavior. ...
... Political violence can be directed either against the system (e.g., violent protests, terrorism) or to support the system (e.g., police brutality, support for war, state sanctioned torture of prisoners). LWA emphasizes anti-state violence, whereas RWA/SDO emphasize pro-state violence (Webber et al., 2020). Consistent with this possibility, LWA uniquely predicted participation in use of force for a political cause within the last five years, as well as support for, and participation in, anti-state violence during the summer of 2020. ...
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Authoritarianism has been the subject of scientific inquiry for nearly a century, yet the vast majority of authoritarianism research has focused on right-wing authoritarianism. In the present studies, we investigate the nature, structure, and nomological network of left-wing authoritarianism (LWA), a construct famously known as “the Loch Ness Monster” of political psychology. We iteratively construct a measure and data-driven conceptualization of LWA across six samples (N = 7,258) and conduct quantitative tests of LWA’s relations with over 60 authoritarianism-related variables. We find that LWA, right-wing authoritarianism, and social dominance orientation reflect a shared constellation of personality traits, cognitive features, beliefs, and motivational values that might be considered the “heart” of authoritarianism. Still, relative to right-wing authoritarians, left-wing authoritarians were lower in dogmatism and cognitive rigidity, higher in negative emotionality, and expressed stronger support for a political system with substantial centralized state control. Our results also indicate that LWA powerfully predicts behavioral aggression and is strongly correlated with participation in political violence. We conclude that a movement away from exclusively right-wing conceptualizations of authoritarianism may be required to illuminate authoritarianism’s central features, conceptual breadth, and psychological appeal.
... Другой подход связан с представлением о том, что когнитивная ригидность связана с идеологическим экстремизмом (rigidity-of-the-extreme hypothesis) вне зависимости от идеологических ориентаций (правых или левых). В свою очередь, идеологический экстремизм является значимой составляющей процесса радикализации -вхождения индивида в радикальные, экстремистские группы [36]. ...
... Вторая составляющая трехмерной модели радикализации -идеологии, определяющие, каким путем будет двигаться человек, мотивируемый на восстановление значимости [36]. Люди ограничены в выборе способов обретения значимости, а групповая идеология обозначает, какие из них являются социально одобряемыми. ...
... Также исследователями обнаружено, что потребность в когнитивной завершенности ведет к более экстремальной дифференциации между ингруппой и аутгруппой [9]. Это также объясняет механизм поддержки радикальных взглядов среди людей с высокой потребностью в когнитивной завершенности: радикальные идеологии всегда жестко дифференцируют ингруппу и аутгруппу [36], поэтому они должны лучше восприниматься людьми, потенциально готовыми к такому противопоставлению. ...
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Objective. Analysis of the relationship between loss of personal significance, intellectual humility, the need for cognitive closure, and support for radicalisation. Background. Psychological studies of the process of radicalization make a significant contribution to the explanation of this negative socio-political phenomenon. One of the questions from these studies is how cognitive rigidity is related to ideological extremism. Study design. The study examined the relationship between loss of personal significance, intellectual humility, and support for radical views mediated by the need for cognitive closure. The presence and nature of the relationship were checked using a path analysis performed in the AMOS 23 program. Participants. 365 residents from Russia (78.5% women), age from 20 to 66 years (M=42.11; SD=11.62). The majority of the sample has a higher education (94.1%), the rest have secondary or specialized secondary education. 41.8% of the respondents identified themselves as Christians, 17.8% as Agnostics, 11.7% as atheists, 10.1% as Muslims, the rest-as other faiths or chose to skip this item of the questionnaire. Measurements. Russian-language versions of the short scale of scales of the need for cognitive closure by D. Webber and A. Kruglansky; the scale of intellectual humility by M. Leary et al. and the scale of loss of personal significance. A questionnaire for assessing support for radical violence. Results. The direct effect of loss of personal importance on the support of radical views is mediated by the need for cognitive closure. The reverse effect of intellectual humility on the support of radical views is mediated by the need for cognitive completeness. Conclusions. The study demonstrates the significance of the “cognitive vulnerability” of supporting extremist ideology, which is extremely important for understanding the personal aspects of both radicalization and deradicalization.
... Therefore, reducing radicalization should focus on intervening in these three forces (Bélanger et al., 2015). Taking tertiary prevention or deradicalization as an example, two paths have been proposed through which radicalization can be reduced (Bélanger, 2018;Webber, Kruglanski, Molinario, & Jasko, 2020). First, there is an explicit or direct path that consists of delegitimizing the use of violence or, using the model's concepts, changing the narrative. ...
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Preventive approaches have gained weight with regard to violent extremism. However, although the number of interventions aimed at prevention has increased, many of them do not have a solid theoretical basis and very few have been evaluated, so we do not know the real impact of these interventions. Based on these limitations, a sport-based intervention program was designed to prevent violent extremism. Using the 3N model of radicalization as a theoretical reference, the program was designed and implemented trying to influence the needs, narratives, and social networks of the participants. Thus, the objective of the present research was to evaluate the impact of the program, for which two studies were designed. The first study used a quantitative approach using questionnaires that were answered by the participants and by a control group. The second study used a qualitative approach that included open-ended questionnaires that were completed by the participants’ referents. Both studies assessed the needs, narratives, and social networks of the participants. Overall, the results showed an improvement in social networks and differences in the effects on needs and narratives depending on the study. We conclude by highlighting the role of sports-based interventions in generating a sense of belonging and improving social support as preventive factors.
... Much of the current literature on social media pays particular attention to the sustainability of smart cities [35,36] and social media-mediated disaster communication [37]. Other studies examined political polarization, ideology-driven political violence [38], and the use of social networking sites as political tools [39,40]. ...
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Embracing sustainability in the 21st century entails developing environmental identity, so that attitudes towards energy sustainability result from the core values of one’s individual and social identity. This study aims to explore the shift in the formation of environmental identity and attitudes towards energy sustainability throughout the course of the two-year study period (2018–2020). A dataset of 8,677,961 tweets, Facebook posts and comments and 325,228 news articles was collected to carry out quantitative analysis of the distribution of the posts, likes, and comments. A correlation with media coverage of energy and green topics was sought to establish the impact of the media on public debate. A qualitative analysis of posts and tweets was carried out to establish dominant themes. The findings of the study reveal that both positive attitudes towards energy sustainability and environmental identity have been consolidated throughout the two-year study period. Social media users are not only increasingly interested in green issues but also produce more reactions towards posts related to sustainability topics. The results also suggest that sustainable values and green behavior are independent from the media coverage of current events and the perceived threat to one’s health from COVID-19. Social networking sites provide a context in which users not only reinforce their beliefs and values, but also mimic the behavior of other users, which leads to the formation of a social media identity bubble that reinforces shared identity—in this case, environmental identity. This study offers a multidisciplinary perspective on sustainable development that will be able to drive equitable energy security and environmental security.
... such as fan violence and hooliganism." This is particularly concerning as in Indonesia hardline Islamist movements are growing in influence (Sakai and Fauzia, 2014;Muhtadi, 2018) and previous studies have revealed that organizations subscribing to extremist religious ideologies were the most likely to engage in lethal attacks (Asal and Rethemeyer, 2008;Webber et al., 2020). Further research is necessary to determine how contextual factors, including ideological commitment (Rogers et al., 2007;Putra and Sukabdi, 2014), interact with fusion though some research has found an interactive relationship with commitment to sacred values (Atran et al., 2014;Gómez et al., 2017). ...
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A growing body of evidence suggests that two distinct forms of group alignment are possible: identification and fusion (the former asserts that group and personal identity are distinct, while the latter asserts group and personal identities are functionally equivalent and mutually reinforcing). Among highly fused individuals, group identity taps directly into personal agency and so any attack on the group is perceived as a personal attack and motivates a willingness to fight and possibly even die as a defensive response. As such, identity fusion is relevant in explaining violent extremism, including suicidal terrorist attacks. Identity fusion is theorized to arise as a result from experiences which are (1) perceived as shared and (2) transformative, however evidence for this relationship remains limited. Here, we present a pre-registered study in which we examine the role of transformativeness and perceived sharedness of group-defining events in generating identity fusion. We find that both of these factors are predictive of identity fusion but that the relationship with transformativeness was more consistent than perceived sharedness across analyses in a sample of Indonesian Muslims.
... Other scholars argue that conservatives are especially susceptible to motivated cognition, and in particular more motivated to justify the status quo . Still others show that conservatives are fundamentally more capable of prejudice, social dominance (for a review see Sibley & Duckitt, 2008), and political violence (Webber et al., 2020). The studies we describe here support the general notion that ideological asymmetries can be driven by ideologically linked dispositions, in particular those documented by Moral Foundations theorists and by System Justification theorists. ...
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Despite widespread support for the principles of democracy, democratic norms have been eroding globally for over a decade. We ask whether and how political ideology factors into people's reactions to democratic decline. We offer hypotheses derived from two theoretical lenses, one considering ideologically relevant dispositions and another considering ideologically relevant situations. Preregistered laboratory experiments combined with analyses of World Values Survey (WVS) data indicate that there is a dispositional trend: Overall, liberals are more distressed than conservatives by low democracy. At the same time, situational factors also matter: This pattern emerges most strongly when the ruling party is conservative and disappears (though it does not flip into its mirror image) when the ruling party is liberal. Our results contribute to ongoing debates over ideological symmetry and asymmetry; they also suggest that, if democracy is worth protecting, not everyone, everywhere will feel the urgency. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Given today's digital media environment and its potential for stoking moral outrage 64 and uniting isolated individuals who share fringe ideologies, understanding these effects is particularly important 65 . While much research on EBEPs has highlighted the role of specific, concrete threats 24,66 , the moralized threat hypothesis offers a potential framework for understanding why people may perceive EBEPs as justified, even in the absence of an ostensible material threat. ...
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Understanding motivations underlying acts of hatred are essential for developing strategies to prevent such extreme behavioral expressions of prejudice (EBEPs) against marginalized groups. In this work, we investigate the motivations underlying EBEPs as a function of moral values. Specifically, we propose EBEPs may often be best understood as morally motivated behaviors grounded in people’s moral values and perceptions of moral violations. As evidence, we report five studies that integrate spatial modeling and experimental methods to investigate the relationship between moral values and EBEPs. Our results, from these U.S. based studies, suggest that moral values oriented around group preservation are predictive of the county-level prevalence of hate groups and associated with the belief that extreme behavioral expressions of prejudice against marginalized groups are justified. Additional analyses suggest that the association between group-based moral values and EBEPs against outgroups can be partly explained by the belief that these groups have done something morally wrong.
... In the case of extremist ideologies, they generally offer a polarized vision of society ("us and them"), which in certain cases legitimize violence and aggression toward antagonistic groups and civilians . Extremist ideologies are not confined to any specific groups and are across the full spectrum of politico-religious tendencies (e.g., jihadism, extreme right, extreme left; Webber, Kruglanski, Molinario, & Jasko, 2020). ...
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The 3N model of radicalization proposes that violent radicalization is the result of the contribution of needs, networks, and narratives. Although research has mainly been supportive of this perspective, a substantial amount of ground remains uncovered regarding the network component of the model. Within this framework, we examine why individuals living in certain social environments tend to harbor more positive attitudes toward homegrown terrorism than others. Building on prior research , we hypothesized that individuals living in social environments known to be vulnerable (vs. less vulnerable) are more likely to experience a sense of significance loss (i.e., lack of social integration, perceived conflicts between religious groups), find solace in religious social networks (i.e., mosques), and thus adhere to radical narratives (i.e., legitimization of terrorism). A study with 365 young Muslims from different cities in Spain (Almería, Barcelona, Ceuta, and Melilla)supported these predictions. Theoretical and practical implications for the study of violent extremism are discussed. K E Y W O R D S 3N model of radicalization, environment, jihadist terrorism legitimization, mosque attendance
... In fact, the majority of lone actors identify with larger movements that advocate "violence-justifying ideologies." [61] This can be at least partially attributed to "the advent of social media; now, fewer attackers feel a need or desire to affiliate with an actual group on the ground when they can be informed and inspired online, especially from the writings of previous attackers." [62] Moreover, an important subfunction of manifestos is to control the narrative following the event, something that is particularly true of documents that are distributed online or sent directly to mainstream media outlets prior to the terror attack. ...
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A model of the relationship between need for closure (NFC) and intergroup hostility was tested in four studies. According to the model, heightened NFC promotes glorification of the ingroup which fosters support for extreme measures against the group’s perceived enemies. In a parallel process, high level of NFC induces perceptions of ingroup victimhood, which also adds support for aggressive actions toward rival outgroups. In the first two studies, conducted in Palestine’s West Bank (Study 1) and in the United States (Study 2), NFC promoted a greater sense of moral entitlement to engage in violence against the outgroup, and this was mediated by perceived ingroup victimhood. The subsequent two studies tested the full hypothesized parallel mediation model among students in Northern Ireland (Study 3) and Jewish-Israelis (Study 4). Results largely supported the proposed model. Findings are discussed in relation to additional evidence linking NFC to phenomena of intergroup hostility.
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Ideology has re-emerged as an important topic of inquiry among social, personality, and political psychologists. In this review, we examine recent theory and research concerning the structure, contents, and functions of ideological belief systems. We begin by defining the construct and placing it in historical and philosophical context. We then examine different perspectives on how many (and what types of) dimensions individuals use to organize their political opinions. We investigate (a) how and to what extent individuals acquire the discursive contents associated with various ideologies, and (b) the social-psychological functions that these ideologies serve for those who adopt them. Our review highlights "elective affinities" between situational and dispositional needs of individuals and groups and the structure and contents of specific ideologies. Finally, we consider the consequences of ideology, especially with respect to attitudes, evaluations, and processes of system justification.
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Study 1 participants' self-integrity (C. M. Steele. 1988) was threatened by deliberative mind-set (S. E. Taylor & P. M. Gollwitzer, 1995) induced uncertainty. They masked the uncertainty with more extreme conviction about social issues. An integrity-repair exercise after the threat, however, eliminated uncertainty and the conviction response. In Study 2, the same threat caused clarified values and more self-consistent personal goals. Two other uncertainty-related threats, mortality salience and temporal discontinuity, caused similar responses: more extreme intergroup bias in Study 3, and more self-consistent personal goals and identifications in Study 4. Going to extremes and being oneself are seen as 2 modes of compensatory conviction used to defend against personal uncertainty. Relevance to cognitive dissonance and authoritarianism theories is discussed, and a new perspective on terror managenment theory (J. Greenberg, S. Solomom, & T. Pyszczynski, 1997) is proposed.
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We report a series of experiments carried out with Palestinian and Israeli participants showing that violent opposition to compromise over issues considered sacred is (i) increased by offering material incentives to compromise but (ii) decreased when the adversary makes symbolic compromises over their own sacred values. These results demonstrate some of the unique properties of reasoning and decision-making over sacred values. We show that the use of material incentives to promote the peaceful resolution of political and cultural conflicts may backfire when adversaries treat contested issues as sacred values. • cultural conflict • Middle East conflict • negotiation • sacred values
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Objective Why are some terrorist attacks so much more devastating than others? Despite the importance of this question, few studies examine the great variance in lethality across terrorist incidents. This article proposes that some cultures witness deadlier terrorism. In particular, it maintains that deadlier terrorism will occur in cultures of honor that socialize individuals to view violence as an acceptable means for upholding a reputation for toughness. Cultures of honor produce terrorists motivated by perceived slight and reputational challenges, which they are compelled to rectify through especially severe acts of violence. Reclaiming one's honor is possible by inflicting maximum damage on the offending person or group. Method This argument is empirically tested in a multilevel statistical analysis of domestic terrorism in the United States from 1970 to 2015. Results Clear evidence emerges that terrorism is deadlier in the U.S. South—the quintessential culture of honor—than in the other regions of the United States. Other variables highlighted in the existing literature, however, receive mixed support. Conclusion The evidence presented in this article indicates that cultural variables help explain variation in terrorist attack lethality. Future research on political violence, including terrorism, would benefit from taking culture into greater consideration.
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The present studies examined the hypothesis that loss of personal significance fuels extremism via the need for cognitive closure. Situations of significance loss-those that make one feel ashamed, humiliated, or demeaned-are inconsistent with the desire for a positive self-image, and instill a sense of uncertainty about the self. Consequently, individuals become motivated to seek certainty and closure that affords the restoration of personal significance. Extremist ideologies should thus increase in appeal, because they promise clear-cut strategies for such restoration. These notions were supported in a series of studies ranging from field surveys of political extremists imprisoned in the Philippines (Study 1) and Sri Lanka (Study 2) to experiments conducted with American samples (Studies 3-4). Implications of these findings are considered for the psychology of extremism, and for approaches to counterradicalization, and deradicalization. (PsycINFO Database Record
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Dogmatic intolerance—defined as a tendency to reject, and consider as inferior, any ideological belief that differs from one’s own—is often assumed to be more prominent at the political right than at the political left. In the present study, we make two novel contributions to this perspective. First, we show that dogmatic intolerance is stronger among left- and right-wing extremists than moderates in both the European Union (Study 1) as well as the United States (Study 2). Second, in Study 3, participants were randomly assigned to describe a strong or a weak political belief that they hold. Results revealed that compared to weak beliefs, strong beliefs elicited stronger dogmatic intolerance, which in turn was associated with willingness to protest, denial of free speech, and support for antisocial behavior. We conclude that independent of content, extreme political beliefs predict dogmatic intolerance.
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We outline a general psychological theory of extremism and apply it to the special case of violent extremism (VE). Extremism is defined as motivated deviance from general behavioral norms and is assumed to stem from a shift from a balanced satisfaction of basic human needs afforded by moderation to a motivational imbalance wherein a given need dominates the others. Because motivational imbalance is difficult to sustain, only few individuals do, rendering extreme behavior relatively rare, hence deviant. Thus, individual dynamics translate into social patterns wherein majorities of individuals practice moderation whereas extremism is the province of the few. Both extremism and moderation require the ability to successfully carry out the activities that these demand. Ability is partially determined by the activities’ difficulty, controllable in part by external agents who promote or oppose extremism. Application of this general framework to VE identifies the specific need that animates it and offers broad guidelines for addressing this pernicious phenomenon.
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How does political preference affect categorization in the political domain? Eight studies demonstrate that people on both ends of the political spectrum—strong Republicans and strong Democrats—form simpler and more clustered categories of political stimuli than do moderates and neutrals. This pattern was obtained regardless of whether stimuli were politicians (Study 1), social groups (Study 2), or newspapers (Study 3). Furthermore, both strong Republicans and strong Democrats were more likely to make inferences about the world based on their clustered categorization. This was found for estimating the likelihood that geographical location determines voting (Study 4), that political preference determines personal taste (Study 5), and that social relationships determine political preference (Study 6). The effect is amplified if political ideology is salient (Study 7) and remains after controlling for differences in political sophistication (Study 8). The political domain appears simpler to the politically extreme than to political moderates.
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The fundamental phenomenon of human closed-mindedness is treated in this volume. Prior psychological treatments of closed-mindedness have typically approached it from a psychodynamic perspective and have viewed it in terms of individual pathology. By contrast, the present approach stresses the epistemic functionality of closed-mindedness and its essential role in judgement and decision-making. Far from being restricted to a select group of individuals suffering from an improper socialization, closed-mindedness is something we all experience on a daily basis. Such mundane situational conditions as time pressure, noise, fatigue, or alcoholic intoxication, for example, are all known to increase the difficulty of information processing, and may contribute to one's experienced need for nonspecific closure. Whether constituting a dimension of stable individual differences, or being engendered situationally - the need for closure, once aroused, is shown to produce the very same consequences. These fundamentally include the tendency to 'seize' on early, closure-affording 'evidence', and to 'freeze' upon it thus becoming impervious to subsequent, potentially important, information. Though such consequences form a part of the individual's personal experience, they have significant implications for interpersonal, group and inter-group phenomena as well. The present volume describes these in detail and grounds them in numerous research findings of theoretical and 'real world' relevance to a wide range of topics including stereotyping, empathy, communication, in-group favouritism and political conservatism. Throughout, a distinction is maintained between the need for a nonspecific closure (i.e., any closure as long as it is firm and definite) and needs for specific closures (i.e., for judgments whose particular contents are desired by an individual). Theory and research discussed in this book should be of interest to upper level undergraduates, graduate students and faculty in social, cognitive, and personality psychology as well as in sociology, political science and business administration.
Book
Part I. From There to Here - Theoretical Background: 1. From visiousness to viciousness: theories of intergroup relations 2. Social dominance theory as a new synthesis Part II. Oppression and its Psycho-Ideological Elements: 3. The psychology of group dominance: social dominance orientation 4. Let's both agree that you're really stupid: the power of consensual ideology Part III. The Circle of Oppression - The Myriad Expressions of Institutional Discrimination: 5. You stay in your part of town and I'll stay in mine: discrimination in the housing and retail markets 6. They're just too lazy to work: discrimination in the labor market 7. They're just mentally and physically unfit: discrimination in education and health care 8. The more of 'them' in prison, the better: institutional terror, social control and the dynamics of the criminal justice system Part IV. Oppression as a Cooperative Game: 9. Social hierarchy and asymmetrical group behavior: social hierarchy and group difference in behavior 10. Sex and power: the intersecting political psychologies of patriarchy and empty-set hierarchy 11. Epilogue.
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Political scientists commonly distinguish issues that are moral from ones that are not. The distinction is taken to be important for understanding persuadability, the stability of opinions, and issue salience, among other phenomena, but there are inconsistencies in how scholars have conceived it. Drawing insights from psychology, I suggest that it is fruitful to think about moral conviction as a dimension of attitude strength. Using three data sources, I examine how much this perspective contributes to our understanding of politics. I find evidence that moral conviction shapes political opinions and action in surprising ways: it varies across issues, but also within them, including issues usually considered not to be moral. It contributes to participatory zeal, but moral conviction may also be related to political extremism and hostility. The findings point to much promise in a microlevel understanding of the role of morality in politics.
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At the age of 87, several years after he had stopped writing, Isaiah Berlin responded to an invitation from a Chinese professor to summarize his ideas for publication in China. He produced an extraordinary essay that defended moral pluralism and warned against its enemy, moral monism (or moral absolutism), which he defined as the thesis that "to all true questions there must be one true answer and one only, all the other answers being false." He then wrote: Most revolutionaries believe, covertly or overtly, that in order to create the ideal world eggs must be broken, otherwise one cannot obtain the omelette. Eggs are certainly broken—never more violently or ubiquitously than in our times—but the omelette is far to seek, it recedes into an infinite distance. That is one of the corollaries of unbridled monism, as I call it—some call it fanaticism, but monism is at the root of every extremism. (Berlin, 1998) In this essay we build upon Berlin's idea 1 and argue that the elevation or "sacralization" of a moral principle or symbol is a major cause of evil. This idea has been developed quite ably by others in recent years (see Baumeister, 1997, on "idealistic evil"; Glover, 1999, on tribalism; and Skitka & Mullen, 2002, on the "dark side" of moral convictions). We hope to add to these analyses of morality and evil by offering a map of moral space which may be helpful in 1 We note that Berlin's use of the word "monism" did not refer to the elevation of a single moral principle but rather to the belief that there is a single correct truth, which might involve several moral principles. Nonetheless, as we will argue, when any moral principles are sacralized, it can lead to the kind of certainty, self-righteousness, and even the willingness to "break eggs" in pursuit of those moral principles that Berlin warned about.
Article
We present a model of radicalization and deradicalization based on the notion that the quest for personal significance constitutes a major motivational force that may push individuals toward violent extremism. Radicalization is defined as the process of supporting or engaging in activities deemed (by others) as in violation of important social norms (e.g., the killing of civilians). In these terms, radicalization (1) is a matter of degree (in which mere attitudinal support for violence reflects a lower degree of radicalization than actual engagement in violence); (2) represents a subjective judgment proffered by those for whom the violated norms seem important but not by those who have devalued or suppressed the norms in question.
Article
Do people's policy preferences toward outgroups in intractable conflict consistently correspond with political ideology? To what extent are policy-related cleavages between the political right and left in such contexts fueled by moral conviction and emotions? Analyses of a survey of Jewish-Israelis (N = 119) conducted immediately after a war between Israelis and Palestinians revealed little to no ideological differences in acceptance of “collateral damage,” support for retribution, or support for compromise when positions about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict were devoid of moral fervor. Those on the left and right endorsed polarized policy preferences only when their positions about the conflict were held with moral conviction. Presence or absence of guilt about harm to Palestinians mediated the effects of moral conviction on policy preferences in this context. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
The hedonic principle that people approach pleasure and avoid pain has been the basic motivational principle throughout the history of psychology. This principle underlies motivational models across all levels of analysis in psychology from the biological to social. However, it is noted that the hedonic principle is very basic and is limited as an explanatory variable. Almost any area of motivation can be discussed in terms of the hedonic principle. This chapter describes two different ways in which the hedonic principle operates—namely, one with a promotion focus and other with a prevention focus. These different ways of regulating pleasure and pain, called “regulatory focus,” have a major impact on people's feelings, thoughts, and actions that is independent of the hedonic principle per se. The chapter also presents some background information about another regulatory variable, called the “regulatory reference.” A self-regulatory system with a positive reference value essentially has a desired end state as the reference point.
Article
Where does morality come from? Why are moral judgments often so similar across cultures, yet sometimes so variable? Is morality one thing, or many? Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) was created to answer these questions. In this chapter we describe the origins, assumptions, and current conceptualization of the theory, and detail the empirical findings that MFT has made possible, both within social psychology and beyond. Looking toward the future, we embrace several critiques of the theory, and specify five criteria for determining what should be considered a foundation of human morality. Finally, we suggest a variety of future directions for MFT and for moral psychology.
Article
Why do some terrorist organizations choose not to—or fail to—kill? Of the 395 terrorist organizations operating between 1998 and 2005 only 39% had actually killed anyone. What factors account for this outcome? This article examines a series of organizational factors, including ideology, capability, and “home-base” country context, that the literature suggests are related to the decision to “go lethal.” We then test six hypotheses using data from the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT). Our statistical modeling suggests that ideology, capabilities, and “dilettantism” explain a significant proportion of the variation in whether an organization chooses to kill or not to kill. Leftists, anarchists, and environmentalists are far less likely to kill than those organizations inspired by religious ideologies. Larger organizations and those with more alliance ties are more likely to kill, while others are too “dilatory” and unserious about the “terrorist enterprise” to become lethal.
Article
Two studies examined the relations between regulatory focus and collective action. In Study 1, undergraduate women expressed stronger action intentions when they were primed to consider prevention (ought-self) self-discrepancies than promotion (ideal-self) self-discrepancies, suggesting that collective action is more likely to occur when individuals are prevention- rather than promotion-focused. In Study 2, however, prevention-focused women expressed stronger action intentions in response to security framing, whereas promotion-focused women expressed stronger action intentions in response to achievement framing. This suggests that the relative disinterest in collective action among promotion-focused individuals can be overcome with the appropriate promotion-focused framing. Implications for analyses of both collective action and regulatory focus are discussed.
Article
Most theories in social and political psychology stress self-interest, intergroup conflict, ethnocentrism, homophily, ingroup bias, outgroup antipathy, dominance, and resistance. System justification theory is influenced by these perspectives—including social identity and social dominance theories—but it departs from them in several respects. Advocates of system justification theory argue that (a) there is a general ideological motive to justify the existing social order, (b) this motive is at least partially responsible for the internalization of inferiority among members of disadvantaged groups, (c) it is observed most readily at an implicit, nonconscious level of awareness and (d) paradoxically, it is sometimes strongest among those who are most harmed by the status quo. This article reviews and integrates 10 years of research on 20 hypotheses derived from a system justification perspective, focusing on the phenomenon of implicit outgroup favoritism among members of disadvantaged groups (including African Americans, the elderly, and gays/lesbians) and its relation to political ideology (especially liberalism-conservatism).
Article
In an Internet survey (N = 275), we investigated how right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), social dominance orientation (SDO), personal values, and political ideology predicted attitudes toward restriction of civil liberties and toward surveillance measured one year later. Feelings of threat from terrorism were also taken into account. RWA, SDO, political ideology, security values, and self-direction values were significant predictors. In addition, RWA interacted with threat from terrorism, in that threat reinforced the positive effect of RWA on support for surveillance measures. Thus, the study contributes to the understanding of psychological reasons for support for political measures related to civil liberties.
Article
The present study tested the role of right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), terrorist threat, and sociopolitical 'climate' as predictors of support for governmental anti-terrorism policies and actions. Two dimensions of analysis were defined: the presence versus absence of al-Qaeda attacks, and adherence to surveillance versus anti-surveillance mainstream politics. In order to study the influence of these two contextual dimensions on the expression of attitudes, we selected four European countries that fall into these two dimensions--Poland, Belgium, Spain, and the UK. Results from our study provide support for the contention that attitudes towards restrictions of civil rights are related to RWA independently of the cultural context. Moreover, in the UK sample, we found that the threat of terrorism increases acceptance of limitations of civil liberties, but only among people who hold authoritarian beliefs. However, in Spain, the other country that experienced terrorist attacks, this moderation effect was not found which is interpreted in terms of differences in the sociopolitical climate in both countries. As predicted, we did not find such moderation effect in countries in which threat is relatively low (Poland and Belgium). The results are discussed with reference to the conceptual framework based on the importance of fear experiences, security-focused policies, as well as the specific cultural context in the study of reaction to terrorist threat.
Article
The results of three experiments showed that regulatory focus influences the way in which the importance and likelihood of social change affect individuals' commitment to collective action. In Studies 1 (N= 82) and 2 (N= 153), the strength of participants' chronic regulatory focus was measured. In Study 3 (N= 52), promotion or prevention focus was experimentally induced. The results showed that for individuals under promotion focus, commitment to collective action depended on the perceived likelihood that through this action important social change would be achieved. Individuals under prevention focus were willing to commit to collective action when they attached high importance to its goal, regardless of the extent to which they believed that attainment of this goal was likely. Implications of these results for work on regulatory focus and collective action are discussed.
Article
Analyzing political conservatism as motivated social cognition integrates theories of personality (authoritarianism, dogmatism-intolerance of ambiguity), epistemic and existential needs (for closure, regulatory focus, terror management), and ideological rationalization (social dominance, system justification). A meta-analysis (88 samples, 12 countries, 22,818 cases) confirms that several psychological variables predict political conservatism: death anxiety (weighted mean r = .50); system instability (.47); dogmatism-intolerance of ambiguity (.34); openness to experience (-.32); uncertainty tolerance (-.27); needs for order, structure, and closure (.26); integrative complexity (-.20); fear of threat and loss (.18); and self-esteem (-.09). The core ideology of conservatism stresses resistance to change and justification of inequality and is motivated by needs that vary situationally and dispositionally to manage uncertainty and threat.
Why men (and women) do and don't rebel: Effects of system justification on willingness to protest
  • J T Jost
  • V Chaikalis-Petritsis
  • D Abrams
  • J Sidanius
  • J Van Der Toorn
  • C Bratt
Jost JT, Chaikalis-Petritsis V, Abrams D, Sidanius J, Van Der Toorn J, Bratt C: Why men (and women) do and don't rebel: Effects of system justification on willingness to protest. Personality Social Psychol. Bull. 2012, 38:197-208.
Compensatory conviction in the face of personal uncertainty: going to extremes and being oneself
  • McGregor
Why men (and women) do and don’t rebel: Effects of system justification on willingness to protest
  • Jost