Who Cares About Human Rights?

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Abstract

Previous studies of human rights attitudes are reviewed, new measures are reported, and a three-factor model is identified (Human Rights Endorsement, Commitment, and Restriction). Individual differences that predict attitudes on each factor overlapped but differed. Dispositional empathy, education, and global knowledge contributed to an endorsement of human rights ideals, but none of these affected commitment or restriction. Globalism (vs. nationalism) and principled moral reasoning strengthened human rights commitment, while ethnocentrism and the social dominance orientation weakened it. Authoritarianism, ethnocentrism, and belief that the world cannot be changed increased a willingness to restrict the rights of unpopular groups, while principled moral reasoning and self-rated liberalism decreased it. In short, the individual differences that influence human rights attitudes depend substantially upon which dimension of these attitudes is considered.

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