Openness to Experience and Boundaries in the Mind: Relationships with Cultural and Economic Conservative Beliefs


  • A portion of this article was presented at the conference of the Belgian Psychological Society, May 2001. The comments of Rick H. Hoyle and three anonymous reviewers are gratefully acknowledged.

should be addressed to Alain Van Hiel, Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000, Ghent, Belgium, E-mail address:


Abstract The present research investigates whether Openness to Experience and Boundaries in the mind are related to conservatism. In the first study, significant relationships between several scales of the Boundaries in the mind questionnaire and indicators of conservative beliefs were obtained in an adult sample (N=78) as well as in a sample of political party activists (N=44). In the second study, these negative relationships between conservatism and thin boundaries were replicated in an adult sample (N=225). Moreover, two dimensions representing Boundaries in the mind were identified, one positively related to Openness to Experience and negatively to conservatism and the second showing high positive correlations with Neuroticism. The exceptionally strong correlations between conservatism and the Boundaries in the mind facet scales Opinions about organizations, Opinions about beauty, truth, Edges, lines, clothing and Opinions about peoples, nations, groups are discussed, as well as the weak relationships between economic conservatism and Openness to Experience.