The Effects of Ideology and Group Ties on Loyalty Decision-Making and Evaluation

Frazier, Rebecca, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Nosek, Brian, Psychology, University of Virginia

To what extent are decisions to show and value loyalty more than a function of our ties to the group? In four studies, I tested the hypothesis that ideological beliefs, and the interaction between political ideology and ties to the group, contribute to decision making about group loyalty. Study 1a and 1b tested these hypotheses within an individual decision-making context, while Study 2 and 3 examined evaluations of the decision-making of others. Moral Foundations Theory suggests that conservatives place a higher moral value on ingroup loyalty than their liberal counterparts (Haidt & Graham, 2007) and this pattern was weakly supported in studies 2 and 3. However, I also predicted that conservatives should be more likely to demonstrate amplified moral concerns about loyalty when ties to the group are particularly strong (Haidt, 2012). Despite this prediction, across four studies and almost 9,000 participants, I failed to find evidence to support the hypothesis that political ideology interacts with the strength of group ties to predict loyalty behaviors and evaluations. While it is possible that the proposed interaction may exist and was simply not observed within the current studies, given that the studies performed were adequately powered and the null effects were observed across a wide range of dependent measures (giving in a public goods task, cooperating in the prisoners dilemma task, and evaluations of the immorality, disloyalty, and negativity of an ingroup member) we must consider possibility that the proposed interaction may not exist or may be much smaller than previously thought.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Social psychology, morality, politics, ideology, cooperation, liberal, conservative, moral foundations theory, social dilemma, giving, public goods task, prisoners dilemma
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