Cognitive Skills as Predictor of Attitudes Toward Political Conflict: A Study of Polish Politicians

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Abstract

The relationship between cognitive development and attitudes toward a current political conflict was examined in a sample of 46 Polish politicians. This relationship was examined in a control group in a neutral condition and in an experimental group after participants were presented with a hostile attack on their position on the conflict. Politicians with less advanced cognitive skills tended to use competitive attitudes in both conditions. In contrast, those who possessed more advanced skills tended to use cooperative attitudes in the neutral situation; after the emotional attack, they tended to avoid further involvement in the conflict and sought to exit it. The key difference in participants’ cognitive functioning was their ability to differentiate perspectives and to transcend their own point of view in the conflict.

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