The Opposite of Republican: Polarization and Political Categorization
Version of Record online: 27 SEP 2010
Copyright © 2010 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
Volume 34, Issue 8, pages 1503–1516, November 2010
How to Cite
Heit, E. and Nicholson, S. P. (2010), The Opposite of Republican: Polarization and Political Categorization. Cognitive Science, 34: 1503–1516. doi: 10.1111/j.1551-6709.2010.01138.x
- Issue online: 3 NOV 2010
- Version of Record online: 27 SEP 2010
- Received 29 January 2010; received in revised form 7 May 2010; accepted 8 May 2010
- Political cognition
Two experiments examined the typicality structure of contrasting political categories. In Experiment 1, two separate groups of participants rated the typicality of 15 individuals, including political figures and media personalities, with respect to the categories Democrat or Republican. The relation between the two sets of ratings was negative, linear, and extremely strong, r = −.9957. Essentially, one category was treated as a mirror image of the other. Experiment 2 replicated this result, showing some boundary conditions, and extending the result to liberal and conservative categories. The same method was applied to two other pairs of contrasting categories, healthy and junk foods, and male and female jobs. For those categories, the relation between contrasting pairs was weaker and there was less of a direct trade-off between typicality in one category versus typicality in its opposite. The results are discussed in terms of implications for political decision making and reasoning, and conceptual representation.