The Relationship Between Social-Cultural Attitudes and Behavioral Measures of Cognitive Style: A Meta-Analytic Integration of Studies


  • The helpful comments and suggestions of the special issue editors, Bernard Whitley, and an anonymous reviewer are gratefully acknowledged.

concerning this article should be addressed to Alain Van Hiel, Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology, Henri Dunantlaan 2, B-9000, Ghent, Belgium. Email:


ABSTRACT The present meta-analysis investigates the relationship between social-cultural right-wing attitudes and objective measures of cognitive style on a set of 124 unique samples, with a total of 29,209 participants. Intolerance of ambiguity and cognitive ability yielded relationships of moderate strength with right-wing attitudes, whereas only mixed evidence was obtained for rigidity, complexity, and field dependence. In the discussion, we compare the present weak to moderate relationships with a meta-analysis conducted by Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, and Sulloway (2003b), included predominantly self-report measures of cognitive style, reporting moderate to strong relationships between conservatism. The need to study cognitive ability as a basis of ideological attitudes is also discussed.