Political Conservatism, Need for Cognitive Closure, and Intergroup Hostility

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Abstract

Two studies examined the interaction of political conservatism and the need for cognitive closure in predicting aggressiveness in intergroup conflict and hostility toward outgroups. In the first study, Polish participants indicated their preference for coercive conflict strategies in the context of a real-life intergroup conflict. Only among participants who identify themselves as conservative, need for cognitive closure was positively and significantly related to preference for aggressive actions against the outgroup. In the second study, the predicted interaction was investigated in the context of the terrorist threat in Poland. The findings indicated that high in need for closure conservatives showed greater hostility against Arabs and Muslims only when they believed that Poland was under threat of terrorist attacks inspired by Islamist fundamentalism.

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