Ideological Cognitive Dissonance



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.


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.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political ScienceIndiana University–Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA

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