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A two-dimensional model for measurement of political orientation
University of Latvia.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4129-1743
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2056-0526
Uppsala Universitet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7811-1390
2014 (English)In: On conference website, 2014Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Although often measured on a single right-left (or conservative-liberal) continuum, individual political orientation can be conceptualized as consisting of at least two orthogonal dimensions. The first is acceptance vs. rejection of social change, and the second is acceptance vs. rejection of inequality. We propose a theoretical model where the former dimension is represented as acceptance vs. avoidance of uncertainty, and the latter dimension is represented as tough mindedness vs. empathy. The former axis corresponds to the conservation vs. openness to change dimension in the Schwartz's (1992) value model; the latter axis corresponds to the self-enhancement vs. self-transcendence dimension. Two secondary axes represent the possible combinations of the variables defining the primary axes. Tough mindedness in combination with uncertainty avoidance result in high system justification, whereas empathy in combination with uncertainty acceptance represents low system justification. This axis corresponds to the self-protection vs. growth dimension of the refined Schwartz et al. (2011) value model. Tough mindedness in combination with uncertainty acceptance results in preference for self-reliance, whereas the opposite combination represents preference for dependence on others. This axis corresponds to the personal vs. social focus of the Schwartz et al. (2011) value model. Participants (N = 287) completed both one-dimensional and two-dimensional measures of political orientation, measures of social dominance orientation, right wing authoritarianism, system justification, need for cognitive closure, moral motives, values, dependence on others, and a number of political attitude measures. Multidimensional scaling supported the proposed model. The results show that the network of political beliefs and attitudes that represents individual political orientation can be largely reduced to the basic psychological variables of uncertainty avoidance and tough-mindedness, and that both dimensions of political orientation are separable not only theoretically, but also empirically. Our findings call for using two-dimensional measures of political orientation instead of one-dimensional measures (even in cultural contexts where both dimensions are highly correlated), because each dimension can be used to predict its own set of political beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-26770Local ID: 705/42/2012OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-26770DiVA: diva2:799411
Conference
The 28th International Congress of Applied Psychology (ICAP), July 8-13th Paris, France.
Projects
Psychological mechanisms underlying political orientations in an old and a new democracy
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, A056-12
Available from: 2015-03-30 Created: 2015-03-30 Last updated: 2015-04-23Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
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More styles
Language
  • de-DE
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More languages
Output format
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