Nav: Home

Political left, right both inspired by utopian hopes

December 05, 2016

Despite the ideological differences separating liberals and conservatives, they share similar motivations for their political engagement, according to a new study from a University of Illinois at Chicago social psychologist.

The study, published online by Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, suggests that people on the political left and right are both morally motivated more by promoting their hopes and vision of a preferred future than by their fears of non-preferred policies or to prevent harm.

To test how and why people become more politically engaged when they have moral investment in an issue, the researchers conducted two studies involving separate politicized matters -- same-sex marriage and guns on college campuses.

"We found that people who more strongly felt that legalizing same-sex marriage or laws allowing concealed guns on college campuses were moral issues -- regardless of whether they supported or opposed these positions - were more willing to engage in activism behaviors such as voting, donating money, and volunteering," said Linda Skitka, UIC professor of psychology and lead author.

"What explained this connection between people's moral convictions and political engagement was the perceived benefits of achieving preferred policy outcomes, not the perceived harms of non-preferred policy outcomes."

The finding that moral political engagement is driven by people's hopes for a utopian future, rather than their fears about a dystopian future, contradicts earlier research.

"Other studies have shown that people are usually more loss-averse than they are gain-seeking," Skitka said. "Although liberals' and conservatives' ideas about what a utopian or dystopian future might look like are different, they are nonetheless motivated more by the benefits they associate with their preferred future than the harms they associate with their non-preferred future."

The researchers say the findings could have implications for communication strategies by organizations, politicians and political parties to encourage political engagement.

"People may be more likely to vote, volunteer, etc., when they believe that doing so will accomplish something good rather than only prevent something bad," she said.
-end-
The study was co-authored by Brittany Hanson, UIC graduate student in psychology, and Daniel Wisneski, assistant professor of psychology at St. Peter's University.

The work was supported by the National Science Foundation.

University of Illinois at Chicago

Related Marriage Articles:

Marriage makes men fatter, shows new research
Being married makes men gain weight, and the early days of fatherhood add to the problem, finds new research from the University of Bath's School of Management.
Commuter marriage study finds surprising emphasis on interdependence
A study, 'Going the Distance: Individualism and Interdependence in the Commuter Marriage,' by Lehigh University's Danielle Lindemann, explores how the seemingly conflicting cultural norms of personal autonomy and a commitment to the institution of marriage play out 'on the ground' from the viewpoint of participants in commuter marriages -- in which a married couple lives apart in service to their dual professional careers.
Delaying marriage in developing countries benefits children
Delaying the marriage age of young women in parts of the developing world has significant positive effects for their children, a new study shows.
How birthplace and education influence marriage choices in China
Many people choose their spouse based on shared values and interests.
Child marriage remains widespread in many countries of sub-Saharan Africa
Child marriage harms girls' health and development throughout the world.
State same-sex marriage policies associated with reduced teen suicide attempts
A nationwide analysis suggests same-sex marriage policies were associated with a reduction in suicide attempts by adolescents, according to a new study published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
Same-sex marriage legalization linked to reduction in suicide attempts among teens
The implementation of state laws legalizing same-sex marriage was associated with a significant reduction in the rate of suicide attempts among high school students -- and an even greater reduction among gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.
How parenting styles influence our attitudes to marriage
Research from Japan has revealed how different parenting styles can affect marriage rates and desired number of children.
Wives with a 'soul mate' view of marriage are less likely to volunteer, study finds
Wives who have a romantic view of marriage are less likely to do volunteer work, leading their husbands to volunteer less as well.
Is shotgun marriage dead?
Shotgun marriages have faded in popularity overall, but are on the rise among some groups, says new research from Duke University.

Related Marriage Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...