Event Title

Political Ideology and Personal Involvement Influence Perceptions of Political Disagreements

Session Title

Discrimination

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Location

DIGS 220

Start Date

12-4-2019 3:45 PM

Description

We examined how seriously a political argument between romantic partners would be viewed. Participants were 262 adults with an age range of 18 to 87 and a mean of 25.58 (SD = 12.17); the sample was primarily women (77%) and Caucasians (59%). An online system randomly presented participants with one of the three experimental conditions, each describing an argument involving two long-term romantic partners (with gender-neutral names); the arguments differed only in their focus: cheating exposed (n = 88), where to eat dinner (n = 77), and opposite voting (n = 99). Participants reported their reactions and also responded to the Intolerant Schema Measure, Distress Tolerance Scale, and Buss Perry Aggression Questionnaire. We found that the perceived seriousness of a political argument depended on level of personal involvement and political ideology. Young adults felt that political disagreements would be as disruptive as cheating for other people’s relationships; however, they reported being more tolerant if it happened in their own relationships. Interestingly, cheating and disagreeing politically were considered to reveal fundamental differences about the individuals involved; the cheating situation would likely reveal moral differences, raising the question of what fundamental difference was being revealed for the politically motivated arguers. Perhaps Democrats perceived the fundamental political difference to also be a moral one, as Democrats reacted more personally and strongly to the political disagreement than did Republicans. These findings shed additional light on how political disagreements are viewed, a timely topic in the midst of current political polarization and incivility.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2019

Course Assignment

PSYC 471, 472 – Sleigh

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Apr 12th, 3:45 PM

Political Ideology and Personal Involvement Influence Perceptions of Political Disagreements

DIGS 220

We examined how seriously a political argument between romantic partners would be viewed. Participants were 262 adults with an age range of 18 to 87 and a mean of 25.58 (SD = 12.17); the sample was primarily women (77%) and Caucasians (59%). An online system randomly presented participants with one of the three experimental conditions, each describing an argument involving two long-term romantic partners (with gender-neutral names); the arguments differed only in their focus: cheating exposed (n = 88), where to eat dinner (n = 77), and opposite voting (n = 99). Participants reported their reactions and also responded to the Intolerant Schema Measure, Distress Tolerance Scale, and Buss Perry Aggression Questionnaire. We found that the perceived seriousness of a political argument depended on level of personal involvement and political ideology. Young adults felt that political disagreements would be as disruptive as cheating for other people’s relationships; however, they reported being more tolerant if it happened in their own relationships. Interestingly, cheating and disagreeing politically were considered to reveal fundamental differences about the individuals involved; the cheating situation would likely reveal moral differences, raising the question of what fundamental difference was being revealed for the politically motivated arguers. Perhaps Democrats perceived the fundamental political difference to also be a moral one, as Democrats reacted more personally and strongly to the political disagreement than did Republicans. These findings shed additional light on how political disagreements are viewed, a timely topic in the midst of current political polarization and incivility.