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Scarily Running Towards The Centre: Political centrism adherence as an effect of mortality salience.
 

Scarily Running Towards The Centre: Political centrism adherence as an effect of mortality salience.

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Scarily Coming To The Centre: Political Centrism As An Effect Of Mortality Salience And A Need For Closure. ...

Scarily Coming To The Centre: Political Centrism As An Effect Of Mortality Salience And A Need For Closure.

ABSTRACT.
Carlos Alberto Rivera García.
University of Essex.


Three studies assessed the relationship between need for closure (NFC; Kruglanski, Webster, & Klem, 1993) and evaluations of political ideology changes, as a function of mortality salience (MS). Based on terror management theory (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) and previous research (e.g., Cozzolino, 2006; Jost et al., 2003), we hypothesized that abstract reminders of death would activate the facet of NFC that seeks group consensus and stability (as opposed to deviation and persuasion). Following an MS or control induction, 156 participants evaluated politicians who switched political ideologies (moved from the left to the right). In line with recent research (Fu et al., 2007), results indicate that MS induced people high in NFC to express greater support for politicians seeking consensus in the political centre, compared to politicians endorsing liberal or conservative ideologies, an effect consistent with research linking NFC to desires for group centrism and collective closure.

A second study (N= 170) clarified this issue further with participants evaluating political parties (rather than individual politicians) depicted as moving from their traditional left/ right positions toward the political centre in one condition, or parties that remained true to their traditional ideologies in a second condition. Results revealed that participants high in NFC exposed to MS expressed significantly higher levels of support for parties moving from the extreme right to the centre, than for parties moving from the extreme left to the centre.

A third study (N=276) explored how the activation of specific needs for cognitive closure via MS would result in an increased support for a centrist political party described as uniform in thought and enjoying an internal (vs. split) mandate for the party’s manifesto. The results further indicate that reminders of mortality amplify demands for consensus and clarity more than signalling a demand for ideological clarity. Results and implications are discussed.

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    Scarily Running Towards The Centre: Political centrism adherence as an effect of mortality salience. Scarily Running Towards The Centre: Political centrism adherence as an effect of mortality salience. Presentation Transcript

    • Scarily Running Towards The Centre: Political centrism adherence as an effect of mortality salience. Carlos Rivera. Supervisor: Dr. Philip J. Cozzolino.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 1
    • Background• Motivated Social Cognition (Jost et al., 2003). • Psychological tendencies underline ideological differences between the political Right and Left. • The adoption of conservative ideologies is a ‘matching process’ to satisfy psychological needs. • Psychological model of epistemic, ideological and existential motivations.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 2
    • Background Jost, et al. (2003).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 3
    • Background Jost, et al. (2003).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 3
    • Background Jost, et al. (2003).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 4
    • Background • Terror management theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986). • Humans share with animals a fundamental orientation toward survival. • Cultural worldviews are sets of beliefs about the nature of reality. • Provide meaning and the promise of symbolic immortality. • Serve as a shield against the anxiety of inevitable death.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 5
    • Background • TMT shows that cultural worldviews provide protection against reminders of death. • ‘Mortality Salience’ manipulation (MS) creates worldview defence, protection, guides for action 1. Describe the emotions that the thought of your own death arouses in you. 2. What do you think will happen to you as you physically die and once you are physically dead?Tuesday, 22 January 2013 6
    • Background • TMT & MS. • Overwhelming fear of death must be managed. • Generates defensive states with a focus on protecting the symbolic self against threats. • MS manipulation sets attention to external sources of information. External Validity? • President Bush approval rating on September 5, 2001: • 51% (PollingReport.com, 2004). • 13 of September, 2001: 86% (Morin & Deane, 2001).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 7
    • Background • TMT & MS. • President Bush image served as protective shield against death. (Landau, et al, 2004). • Again, MS inflates regard for people, concepts and objects that represent own culture. • MS enhance appeal of charismatic leader (Cohen, et al, 2004).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 8
    • Background • Is Voting a Rational Choice? TMT & MS. • Participants in CN gave higher ratings to John Kerry over George Bush. (Landau, et al, 2004). • When reminded of their mortality (MS) George Bush’s evaluation increased. Landau, et al, (2004).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 9
    • Background Need for Closure • Desire to have closure urgently and maintain it permanently as compared to confusion and/or ambiguity (Kruglanski, 2004, p. 6). • Strong need for closure tend to “seize” on information permitting a judgement on a topic of interest and to “freeze” on such judgement, becoming relatively impermeable or closed-minded to further relevant information (Kruglanski & Webster, 1996).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 10
    • Background Need for Closure • Refers to the way in which individuals approach and reduce cognitive uncertainty (Golec & Federico, 2004). • High NFCS’s: • Favours homogeneous in-groups because their shared beliefs provide firm, socially validated reality. • May induce a general group centrism (De Grada et al., 1999; Kruglanski, et al., 2002). • Look to reach a clear consensus.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 11
    • Background Need for Closure • NFC means ‘black-and-white’ schema but... • there are times when need for uniformity is high. • Hypothesis. • MS should interact with need for closure. • Deviants from the political centre should not be highly regarded by people high in NFC.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 12
    • Study 1 • 161 psychology students (UoE). (female= 101, men= 58 (2 not reported); M = 21.92, SD = 5.21). • Presented psychological inventories: • Nationalism/Patriotism (UK version). • Party Preference scale. • Need for Closure. • Social Dominance Orientation. • Political Knowledge. • Other psychological scales. • Participants assigned to MS or control conditions. • Read biographies of four politicians who switched political ideologies.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 13
    • Study 1Tuesday, 22 January 2013 14
    • Study 1 • Political Approval • “I respect this politician.” • “I do not think that this politician is worthy of esteem.” (R) • “I do not have a high opinion of this politician.” (R) • “I think that this politician is in politics for the ‘right reasons’.” • Alphas: • Politician 1 (Right > Left) (Out > Centre) .764 • Politician 2 (Right > Left) (Centre > Out) .767 • Politician 3 (Left > Right) (Centre > Out) .775 • Politician 4 (Left > Right) (Out > Centre) .802Tuesday, 22 January 2013 15
    • Study 1 • Design • 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 mixed ANOVA • Condition (MS/CN); Need for Closure (NFC) - Between subjects. • Movement (LR/RL) and Direction (Out-Centre/Centre- out) - Within subjects. • Expectation • Direction of the politicians movement will mean more for those in the MS condition and high in NFC.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 16
    • Study 1 • Primary hypothesis test • Need for Closure X Condition X Direction interaction. • Only higher-order significant interaction. • F(1, 152) = 5.80, p < .05 Out > Centre 5.00 MS CNPolitical Approval 4.75 4.50 4.25 4.00 Low NFC High NFC Tuesday, 22 January 2013 17
    • Study 1 • Primary hypothesis test • Need for Closure X Condition X Direction interaction. • Only higher-order significant interaction. • F(1, 152) = 5.80, p < .05 Out > Centre Centre > Out 5.00 5.00 MS MS CN CN Political ApprovalPolitical Approval 4.75 4.75 4.50 4.50 4.25 4.25 4.00 4.00 Low NFC High NFC Low NFC High NFC Tuesday, 22 January 2013 17
    • Study 1 • Brief Discussion • MS induce people high in NFC to seek comfort in social groups. • Psychological processes of social bonding in line with Cozzolino (2006) dual-existential model. • Group-centrism, is related to the needs to reduce uncertainty and to dispel ambiguity.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 18
    • Study 2 • Study 1 looked at political support for individual politicians. • Study 2 is making holistic judgements, looking at political parties.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 19
    • A Little Quote “Anywhere where the ruling elites, particularly the Labour Party which was the, everything, for a place like this years ago has abandoned the working class, you got this enormous gulf which is going to be filled by somebody and where possible we make sure that is filled by us”.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 20
    • A Little Quote “Anywhere where the ruling elites, particularly the Labour Party which was the, everything, for a place like this years ago has abandoned the working class, you got this enormous gulf which is going to be filled by somebody and where possible we make sure that is filled by us”.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 20
    • A Little Quote “Anywhere where the ruling elites, particularly the Labour Party which was the, everything, for a place like this years ago has abandoned the working class, you got this enormous gulf which is going to be filled by somebody and where possible we make sure that is filled by us”. Nick Griffin. Chairman of British National Party. (BBC “Panorama” Interview, 2008)Tuesday, 22 January 2013 20
    • Study 2 • Change of context (individual politicians to political parties across the spectrum). • Moving from individual to social. • Also support for fringe, that now seem “less extreme”. • Because traditional parties move to centre. • Two conditions: • No party movement. • Parties move toward centre (gaps filled).Tuesday, 22 January 2013 21
    • Study 2Tuesday, 22 January 2013 22
    • Study 2Tuesday, 22 January 2013 23
    • Discussion • Design • 2 X 2 X 2 X 2 mixed ANOVA • Condition, Need for Closure, & Movement - Between subjects • Support for left/right - Within subjectsTuesday, 22 January 2013 24
    • Study 2 • 78 psychology students (UoE). (female= 48, men= 30; M = 24.71, SD = 9.25). • Presented psychological inventories: • Nationalism/Patriotism (UK version). • Party Preference scale. • Need for Closure. • Social Dominance Orientation. • Political Knowledge. • Other psychological scales. • Participants assigned to MS or control conditions. • Read alleged Political Science textbook. • Ask to rate their support.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 25
    • Study 2 “New” Left Support “New” Right Support 5.0000 MS 5.0000 MSPolitical Approval Political Approval CN CN 4.5203 4.5425 4.0405 4.0849 3.5608 3.6274 3.0810 3.1698 Low NFC High NFC Low NFC High NFCTuesday, 22 January 2013 26
    • Study 2 • Primary hypothesis test • 4-way interaction, F(1, 70) = 3.49, p = .06 • Splitting sample on “movement” (no move or all move). • No interactive effects in “no movement” condition, but significant three-way between condition, NFC, and support in the ‘all move’ condition (p < .05). “New” Left Support “New” Right Support 5.0000 MS 5.0000 MSPolitical Approval Political Approval CN CN 4.5203 4.5425 4.0405 4.0849 3.5608 3.6274 3.0810 3.1698 Low NFC High NFC Low NFC High NFCTuesday, 22 January 2013 26
    • ConclusionsTuesday, 22 January 2013 27
    • Conclusions • Existential and Epistemic motives interact to console people when feeling intimidated. • Threatening remainders seem to amplify demands for consensus and clarity on for those high in need for closure. • In a context of changing political positions, when MORTALITY SALIENCE and NEED FOR CLOSURE are combined not all “CENTRISM” is equal. • Psychological appeal about the “NEW RIGHT” for high in Need for Closure who have had been reminded about their mortality. • Political Psychology: Micro-level answers to Macro-level issues issues.Tuesday, 22 January 2013 27
    • Thank you! Any questions?Tuesday, 22 January 2013 28