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The Influence of Education on Attitudes toward Affirmative Action: The Role of the Policy's Strength


Fabio Lorenzi-Cioldi, Faculté de Psychologie et des Sciences de l'Éducation, University of Geneva–Uni Mail 40, Boulevard du Pont d'Arve, CH–1205, Geneva, Switzerland. E-mail:


The present research examined the influence of education on attitudes toward affirmative action. Studies 1 and 2 showed no impact of education on attitudes toward “soft” policies of affirmative action. In contrast, they showed less support of the more educated to “hard” policies of affirmative action. Neither prejudice (Study 2), nor understanding of the affirmative-action policies (Study 3) accounted for this effect. Study 4 demonstrated that the education effect is mediated by the threat posed by strong plans to meritocratic beliefs. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.