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On the deviance of triangles: Deviance perception partly explains the ideological divide in social policy

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Abstract:

It is widely observed that political conservatives respond more harshly to social deviance than political liberals. Conservatives assign harsher punishment to law-breakers and are less supportive of public aid policies that help support disadvantaged groups. These ideologically divergent responses to deviance are typically viewed as reflecting fundamental motivational differences. However, preceding these motivated reactions, individuals must initially perceive the act or person in question as deviant. We propose that political differences in policy support may be partly driven by the tendency for conservatives to perceive greater deviance than liberals, even among non-social targets. In two studies (Ns = 320 and 729), participants were shown geometric figures and were asked to identify the extent to which they were "triangles" (or circles, squares, etc.). In both studies, more conservative participants reported greater differentiation between true and imperfect shapes than more liberal participants, indicating a greater sensitivity to deviance. However, this ideological difference did not occur in the absence of perceptual ambiguity (i.e., for judgments of clearly false shapes; Study 2), suggesting that conservatives' more stringent perceptions of deviance are specifically related to their distaste for perceptual ambiguity. Importantly, in both studies, shape differentiation also predicted harsher punishment of wrongdoers and less support for public aid for disadvantaged groups, partly accounting for the relationship between political ideology and social policy. Findings suggest that more conservative individuals are generally more critical judges of target deviance than their liberal counterparts, a tendency that influences opinions over who in society is deserving of sanction and aid.

Author's Keywords:

deviance, political ideology, social policy, punishment
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Association:
Name: Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology
URL:
http://ispp.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p724277_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Okimoto, Tyler. and Gromet, Dena. "On the deviance of triangles: Deviance perception partly explains the ideological divide in social policy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Ergife Palace Hotel, Rome, Italy, Jul 04, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p724277_index.html>

APA Citation:

Okimoto, T. G. and Gromet, D. M. , 2014-07-04 "On the deviance of triangles: Deviance perception partly explains the ideological divide in social policy" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology, Ergife Palace Hotel, Rome, Italy <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p724277_index.html

Publication Type: Paper (prepared oral presentation)
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: It is widely observed that political conservatives respond more harshly to social deviance than political liberals. Conservatives assign harsher punishment to law-breakers and are less supportive of public aid policies that help support disadvantaged groups. These ideologically divergent responses to deviance are typically viewed as reflecting fundamental motivational differences. However, preceding these motivated reactions, individuals must initially perceive the act or person in question as deviant. We propose that political differences in policy support may be partly driven by the tendency for conservatives to perceive greater deviance than liberals, even among non-social targets. In two studies (Ns = 320 and 729), participants were shown geometric figures and were asked to identify the extent to which they were "triangles" (or circles, squares, etc.). In both studies, more conservative participants reported greater differentiation between true and imperfect shapes than more liberal participants, indicating a greater sensitivity to deviance. However, this ideological difference did not occur in the absence of perceptual ambiguity (i.e., for judgments of clearly false shapes; Study 2), suggesting that conservatives' more stringent perceptions of deviance are specifically related to their distaste for perceptual ambiguity. Importantly, in both studies, shape differentiation also predicted harsher punishment of wrongdoers and less support for public aid for disadvantaged groups, partly accounting for the relationship between political ideology and social policy. Findings suggest that more conservative individuals are generally more critical judges of target deviance than their liberal counterparts, a tendency that influences opinions over who in society is deserving of sanction and aid.


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