Advertisement

Ideological Cognitive Dissonance

Chapter
  • 200 Downloads

Abstract

The author examines the occurrence of a type of cognitive dissonance found among individuals when they are asked to think about their own ideology. Ellis and Stimson’s Ideology in America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012) examines the paradoxical relationship people have with the concept. Americans want to identify and label themselves with the word conservative, yet when asked about their particular policy preferences, they tend to prefer liberal policies. This translates to a preference for symbolic conservatism and operational liberalism. Why do people do this? I argue that this combination of contradictory preferences is driven, in part, by personality. In particular I point to one’s level of agreeableness. The more agreeable one is, the more they desire positive relationships. This leads to the simple desire, at least in the abstract, to support what they perceive to be the majority’s opinion.

Keywords

Policy Preference Cognitive Dissonance Emotional Stability Policy Attitude Political Knowledge 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Aronson, Elliot. 1992. “The Return of the Repressed: Dissonance Theory Makes a Comeback.” Psychological Inquiry 3: 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beasley, Ryan K., and Mark R. Joslyn. 2001. “Cognitive Dissonance and Post-Decision Attitude Change in Six Presidential Elections.” Political Psychology 22: 521–540.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bølstad, Jørgen, Elias Dinas, and Pedro Riera. 2013. “Tactical Voting and Party Preferences: A Test of Cognitive Dissonance Theory.” Political Behavior 35: 429–452.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Collins, Paul M. 2011. “Cognitive Dissonance on the U.S. Supreme Court.” Political Research Quarterly 64: 362–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Converse, Philip E. 1964. “The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics.” In Ideology and Discontent, edited by David E. Apter, Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Delli Carpini, Michael X., and Scott Keeter. 1996. What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Ellis, Christopher, and James A. Stimson. 2012. Ideology in America. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Erikson, Robert S, Michael B. Mackuen, and James A. Stimson. 2002. The Macro Polity. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Festinger, Leon. 1957. A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Free, Lloyd A., and Hadley Cantril. 1967. The Political Beliefs of Americans. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Gerber, Alan S., Gregory A. Huber, David Doherty, Conor M. Dowling, and Shang E. Ha. 2010. “Personality and Political Attitudes: Relationships Across Issue Domains and Political Contexts.” The American Political Science Review 104: 111–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goodnough, Abby, “Where Health Law Helps Voters but Saps Votes,” New York Times 17 September, 2014.Google Scholar
  13. Harmon-Jones, Eddie, David M. Amodio, and Harmon-Jones. Cindy. 2009. “Action-Based Model of Dissonance: A Review, Integration, and Expansion.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 41: 119–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hatemi, Peter K., and Brad Verhulst. 2015. “Political Attitudes Develop Independently of Personality Traits.” Plos One 10: 1–24.Google Scholar
  15. Iyengar, Shanto, and Donald R. Kinder. 1987. News That Matters: Television and American Opinion. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  16. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2013. “Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: March 2013.” Kff.org. http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/march-2013-tracking-poll/
  17. Kaiser Family Foundation. 2014. “Kaiser Health Policy Tracking Poll: December 2014.” Kff.org. http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-policy-tracking-poll-december-2014/
  18. Keith, Bruce, E., David B. Magleby, Candice J. Nelson, Elizabeth A. Orr, and Mark C. Westlye. 1992. The Myth of the Independent Voter. Berkeley CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  19. Kirzinger, Ashley, Bryan Wu, and Mollyann Brodie. 2016. “Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: September 2016,” kff.org. http://kff.org/health-costs/report/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-september-2016/
  20. McGregor, R. Michael. 2013. “Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes: The Case of Canada.” Social Science Journal 50: 168–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mondak, Jeffery J. 2010. Personality and the Foundations of Political Behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mondak, Jeffery J., and Karen D. Halperin. 2008. “A Framework for the Study of Personality and Political Behavior.” British Journal of Political Science 38: 335–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mullainathan, Sendhil, and Ebonya Washington. 2009. “Sticking with Your Vote: Cognitive Dissonance and Political Attitudes.” Applied Economics 1: 86–111.Google Scholar
  24. Osborne, Danny, and Chris G. Sibley. 2012. “Does Personality Matter? Openness Correlates with Vote Choice, but Particularly for Politically Sophisticated Voters.” Journal of Research in Personality 46: 743–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Page, Benjamin I., and Robert Y. Shapiro. 1992. The Rational Public: Fifty Years of Trends in Americans’ Policy Preferences. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Popp, Elizabeth, and Thomas J. Rudolph. 2011. “A Tale of Two Ideologies: Explaining Public Support for Economic Interventions.” The Journal of Politics 73: 808–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schumpeter, Joseph. 1950. Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. 3rd New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  28. Sibley, Chris G., Danny Osborne, and John Duckitt. 2012. “Personality and Political Orientation: Meta-Analysis and Test of a Threat-Constraint Model.” Journal of Research in Personality 46: 664–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stimson, James A. 2004. Tides of Consent: How Public Opinion Shapes American Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tversky, Amos, and Daniel Kahneman. 1981. “The Framing of Decisions and the Psychology of Choice.” Science 211: 453–458.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Youngman, Sam. 2014. “Mitch Mcconnell Outlines Future Opposition to ‘Obamacare’ if GOP Wins Senate Majority,” Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com/2014/01/10/3027635/mitch-mcconnell-outlines-obamacare.html
  32. Zaller, John R. 1992. The Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceIndiana University–Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

Personalised recommendations