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moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait

Topic 2

moral belief conspiracy personality trait theory predict ideological group believer curious empathize hexaco narcissism attribution

A Data-Driven Analysis of the Cognitive and Perceptual Attributes of Ideological Attitudes

There has been a long-held assumption that a citizen’s socioeconomic circumstance is one of the most powerful predictors of what they believe and how they vote. Nonetheless, an emerging science is suggesting that individuals’ ideological attitudes may also reflect their idiosyncratic psychological traits. Using an unprecedented number of cognitive tasks (N=37) and personality surveys (N=22), along with data-driven analyses including drift-diffusion and Bayesian modelling, we uncovered the psychological dispositions that were most strongly linked to individuals’ ideological orientations. This revealed the cognitive and personality signatures of a large set of ideologies in the domains of politics, nationalism, religion, and dogmatism. Conservatism and nationalism were related to greater caution in perceptual decision-making tasks and to reduced strategic information processing, while dogmatism was associated with slower evidence accumulation and impulsive tendencies. Religiosity was implicated in heightened agreeableness and risk perception. Ideological worldviews may thus be reflective of low-level perceptual and cognitive functions.
attitude
politics
perception
psychology
cognitive science
religion
bayesian
nationalism
personality
ideology
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
political, attitude, partisan, democracy, ideology
Culture and Epistemically Suspect Beliefs

The current study explores various individual difference factors known to predict epistemically suspect beliefs across Western and Eastern cultures. While Western individuals scoring higher on measures of analytic thinking endorsed less epistemically suspect beliefs, this association was not observed in our Japanese samples, suggesting that the often observed negative association between analytic thinking and epistemically suspect beliefs may be exclusive to Western samples. Additionally, we demonstrate that a tendency to think holistically (specifically with regards to causality) was positively associated with the endorsement of epistemically suspect beliefs, both within Western and Eastern samples.
belief
culture
study
association
individual
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
Moral values and trait pathogen disgust predict compliance with official recommendations regarding COVID-19 pandemic in US samples

Emergency situations require individuals to make important changes in their behavior. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, official recommendations to slow the spread of the virus include costly behaviors such as self-quarantining, which individuals might be reluctant to adopt. However, whether or not people adopt those behaviors could make a huge difference in the impact of the pandemic. In this context, it is important to elucidate what psychological traits underlie people’s (lack of) compliance with official recommendations to slow the spread of the virus. In three exploratory studies and one preregistered replication in a representative sample of US participants, we found converging evidence that compliance with official recommendations is not related to epistemic attitudes such as beliefs in conspiracy theories and pseudoscience, fear, or psychological reactance. Instead, participants’ behavioral intentions were predicted by their (1) disgust towards pathogens, and (2) moral values regarding the importance of caring about others.
covid-19
compliance
usa
conspiracy theory
transmission
prediction
recommendation
morality
psychology
spread
impact
emotion
quarentine
behavioral change
pathogen
norms
compassion
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
intention, behavior, message, guideline, preventive
Personality and moral judgment: Curious consequentialists and polite deontologists (Journal of Personality)

Objective: How does our personality relate to the ways in which we judge right from wrong? Drawing on influential theories of moral judgment, we identify candidate traits that may be linked with inclinations toward (a) consequentialist judgments (i.e., those based on the outcomes of an action) and (b) deontological judgments (i.e., those based on the alignment of an action with particular moral rules). Method: Across two studies (total N = 843), we examined domains and aspects of the Big Five in relation to inclinations toward consequentialist and deontological judgments. Results: In both studies, we found a unique association between intellect (curiosity, cognitive engagement) and consequentialist inclinations, in line with the view that deliberative cognitive processes drive such inclinations. We also found a consistent unique association between politeness (respectfulness, etiquette) and deontological inclinations, in line with the view that norm-adherence drives such inclinations. Neither study yielded a significant unique relation between deontological inclinations and compassion (sympathy, empathic concern)—or any other emotion-infused trait (e.g., neuroticism)—as would be expected based on emotion- centered views of deontological moral judgment. Conclusions: These findings have implications for theories of moral judgment, and reveal how our personality guides our approach to questions of ethics and morality.
personality
big five
compassion
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
opinion, science, society, insight, economist
Collective narcissism predicts the belief and dissemination of conspiracy theories during the COVID-19 pandemic

While COVID-19 was quietly spreading across the globe, conspiracy theories were finding loud voices on the internet. What contributes to the spread of these theories? In two national surveys (NTotal = 950) conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom, we identified national narcissism – a belief in the greatness of one’s nation that others do not appreciate – as a risk factor for the spread of conspiracy theories during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that national narcissism was strongly associated with the proneness to believe and disseminate conspiracy theories related to COVID-19, accounting for up to 22% of the variance. Further, we found preliminary evidence that belief in COVID-19 conspiracy theories and national narcissism was linked to health-related behaviors and attitudes towards public policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Our study expands previous work by illustrating the importance of identity processes in the spread of conspiracy theories during pandemics.
covid-19
uk
usa
conspiracy theory
spread
study
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
intention, behavior, message, guideline, preventive
Pylons ablaze: Examining the role of 5G COVID‐19 conspiracy beliefs and support for violence

Amid increased acts of violence against telecommunication engineers and property, this pre‐registered study (N  = 601 Britons) investigated the association between beliefs in 5G COVID‐19 conspiracy theories and the justification and willingness to use violence. Findings revealed that belief in 5G COVID‐19 conspiracy theories was positively correlated with state anger, which in turn, was associated with a greater justification of real‐life and hypothetical violence in response to an alleged link between 5G mobile technology and COVID‐19, alongside a greater intent to engage in similar behaviours in the future. Moreover, these associations were strongest for those highest in paranoia. Furthermore, we show that these patterns are not specific to 5G conspiratorial beliefs: General conspiracy mentality was positively associated with justification and willingness for general violence, an effect mediated by heightened state anger, especially for those most paranoid in the case of justification of violence. Such research provides novel evidence on why and when conspiracy beliefs may justify the use of violence.
covid-19
uk
conspiracy theory
5g
paranoia
conspiracy mentality
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
intention, behavior, message, guideline, preventive
Political Preferences, Personality Traits, and Environmentalism

Although the scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change continues to grow, public discourse still reflects a high level of scepticism and political polarisation towards anthropogenic climate change. In this study (N = 499) we attempted to replicate and expand upon an earlier finding that environmental terminology (“climate change” versus “global warming”) could partly explain political polarisation in environmental scepticism (Schuldt, Konrath, & Schwarz, 2011). Participants completed a series of online questionnaires assessing personality traits, political preferences, belief in environmental phenomenon, and various pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours. Those with a Conservative political orientation and/or party voting believed less in both climate change and global warming compared to those with a Liberal orientation and/or party voting. Furthermore, there was an interaction between continuously measured political orientation, but not party voting, and question wording on beliefs in environmental phenomena. Personality traits did not confound these effects. Furthermore, continuously measured political orientation was associated with pro-environmental attitudes, after controlling for personality traits, age, gender, area lived in, income, and education. The personality domains of Openness, and Conscientiousness, were consistently associated with pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours, whereas Agreeableness was associated with pro-environmental attitudes but not with behaviours. This study highlights the importance of examining personality traits and political preferences together and suggests ways in which policy interventions can best be optimised to account for these individual differences.
policy
intervention
psychology
study
climate change
personality
big five
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
political, attitude, partisan, democracy, ideology
Belief in conspiracy theories, aggression, and attitudes towards political violence

In the last decade, political protest events have been rising in Western democracies. At the same time, there has been a steady increase in the diffusion of conspiracy theories in political communication, a phenomenon that has captured the interest of scholars for its growing political relevance. However, while most research focuses on the reasons why citizens believe in conspiracies, studies looking at the political-behavioral implications of such beliefs, in particular their connection to political radicalism, have been more limited. In this paper we investigate the association between people's belief in conspiracies and their propensity to endorse political violence and to legitimate radical political action. We propose a model in which belief in conspiracies mediates the impact of dispositional aggression on radical attitudes, and test it empirically on an online sample of US residents collected on Amazon Mechanical Turk. Our results suggest that conspiracy theories partially channel individuals' aggression towards political targets.
usa
conspiracy theory
online
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
political, attitude, partisan, democracy, ideology
How social relationships shape moral judgment

Our judgments of whether an action is morally wrong depend on who is involved and their relationship to one another. But how, when, and why do social relationships shape such judgments? Here we provide new theory and evidence to address this question. In a pre- registered study of U.S. participants (n = 423, nationally representative for age, race and gender), we show that particular social relationships (like those between romantic partners, housemates, or siblings) are normatively expected to serve distinct cooperative functions – including care, reciprocity, hierarchy, and mating – to different degrees. In a second pre- registered study (n = 1,320) we show that these relationship-specific norms, in turn, influence the severity of moral judgments concerning the wrongness of actions that violate cooperative expectations. These data provide evidence for a unifying theory of relational morality that makes highly precise out-of-sample predictions about specific patterns of moral judgments across relationships. Our findings show how the perceived morality of actions depends not only on the actions themselves, but also on the relational context in which those actions occur.
usa
behavioral science
ethics
survey
morality
social norm
prosocial behavior
judgment
expectation
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
neural, accuracy, elusive, task, trade
Value-based Essentialism: Essentialist Beliefs About Non-biological Social Groups

Psychological essentialism has played an important role in social psychology, informing influential theories of stereotyping and prejudice as well as questions about accountability for wrongdoing and the possibility for change. Existing research has shown that people often see a social group as having a deep, underlying essence when they understand that group in terms of an underlying biological cause. Here we ask whether people sometimes also essentialize groups that they do not think of as biological. More specifically, we investigate the possibility of “value-based essentialism” in which people think of certain social groups in terms of an underlying essence, but that essence is understood as a value. Study 1 explored beliefs about a wide range of social groups and found that both biological groups (e.g., women) and value-based groups (e.g., Christian) elicited similar general essentialist beliefs relative to mere social categories (e.g., English-speakers). In Studies 2-4, participants who read about a group either as being based in biology or in shared values reported higher essentialist beliefs compared to a control condition. Because biological essentialism about social groups has been connected to a number of downstream consequences, we also investigated two test cases concerning value-based essentialism. In Study 3, both the biological essence and value-based essence conditions increased inductive generalizations (related to stereotyping) compared to control, but in Study 4 only the biological condition reduced blame for wrongdoing. Together these findings support a broader theoretical framework for essentialism about social groups that incorporates values-based essence.
behavioral science
psychology
study
cognitive science
blame
moral, belief, conspiracy, personality, trait
neural, accuracy, elusive, task, trade