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Need for Cognitive Closure and Conservative Political Beliefs: Differential Mediation by Personal Worldviews

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The paper investigates the relationships between motivated social cognition (need for cognitive closure), personal worldviews (traditional, modern, or postmodern), and conservative political beliefs. The relationships were analyzed in a sample of 189 Polish adults. High need for closure was associated with support for both traditional and modern worldviews. Although different in content (i.e., endorsing different values and assumptions about the methods and limits of cognition), the worldviews share similar formal characteristics: Both assume the absolute nature of values and the existence of definite truths. However, acceptance of the traditional worldview was related to political conservatism (i.e., support for nationalist and isolationist opinions and a stronger role for traditional, religious values in public life), whereas acceptance of the modern worldview was associated with a rejection of conservative political beliefs. Moreover, personal worldviews mediated the relationship between need for closure and political beliefs: Support for social conservatism was mediated by acceptance of the traditional worldview, whereas acceptance of the modern worldview predicted rejection of conservative values.
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Keywords: modernism; need for cognitive closure; political conservatism; postmodernism; traditionalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Middlesex University, UKWarsaw School of Social Psychology, Poland 2: Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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