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Keywords:

  • political ideologies;
  • social representations;
  • social comparison;
  • social differentiation;
  • delinquency

Why and under what conditions do subjects from diverse political orientations tend to offer different explanations of a social problem? Past studies have found evidence of a connection between political orientations and explanations of delinquency, for example. However, observing such differences among subjects with diverse political orientations is not enough to prove the existence of an organic link between social differentiation and the representations of delinquency. The aim of this paper is to provide an experimental proof of such a link. The results show that: (a) right-wing and left-wing subjects tend to offer different types of explanations of delinquency, but they refer to several common organizing principles; (b) divergence increases when social comparison between groups is activated; (c) differences are bigger if this comparison induces a discrimination; (d) the bigger the differences the more likely are the groups to resort to their ideological principles. Results are discussed in terms of theoretical, methodological, deontological, and practical implications.