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When Authoritarians Confront Prejudice. Differential Effects of SDO and RWA on Support for Hate‐Speech Prohibition

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Two nationwide representative studies (N = 653 adolescents; N = 1007 adults) investigated the psychological correlates of the intention to penalize public expressions of prejudice in the form of support for hate‐speech prohibition. We presented participants with preselected examples of hate speech from the Internet and other mass media and assessed their willingness to support the prohibition of public expressions of such remarks. Both studies found that social dominance orientation and right‐wing authoritarianism are positively correlated with outgroup prejudice, but they have differential effects on hate‐speech prohibition. Social dominance orientation was positively related to the acceptance of hate speech, whereas right‐wing authoritarianism was positively related to hate‐speech prohibition. In discussing this counterintuitive finding, we suggest that right‐wing authoritarians are particularly vigilant toward norm violations—and this makes them more punitive toward counternormative expressions of prejudice, such as hate speech.
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Keywords: RWA; SDO; authoritarianism; hate speech; prejudice

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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