Tuesday, March 31, 2020

“When in Danger, Turn Right: Covid-19 Threat Promotes Social Conservatism and Right-wing Presidential Candidates

Karwowski, Maciej, Marta Kowal, Agata Groyecka, Michal Bialek, Izabela Lebuda, Agnieszka Sorokowska, and Piotr Sorokowski. 2020. “When in Danger, Turn Right: Covid-19 Threat Promotes Social Conservatism and Right-wing Presidential Candidates.” PsyArXiv. March 31. doi:10.31234/osf.io/pjfhs

Abstract: The recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forms an enormous challenge for the world's economy, governments, and societies. Drawing upon the Parasite Model of Democratization (Thornhill, R., Fincher, C. L., & Aran, D. (2009), parasites, democratization, and the liberalization of values across contemporary countries, Biological Reviews, 84(1), 113-131) across two large, preregistered experiments conducted in the USA and Poland (total N = 1,237), we examined the psychological and political consequences of this unprecedented pandemic. By manipulating saliency of COVID-19, we demonstrate that activating thinking about coronavirus elevates Americans' and Poles' anxiety and indirectly promotes their social conservatism as well as support for more conservative presidential candidates. The pattern obtained was consistent in both countries and it implies that the pandemic may result in a shift in political views. Both theoretical and practical consequences of the findings are discussed.


Discussion
In a large-scale, preregistered experiment, we found evidence for a shift in political views of individuals threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, we show that those who feel threatened react with anxiety, tend to seek greater structure in their environment, and thus shift toward social conservatism. All of this increases the support for conservative presidential candidates. A great value of our research is the observed similarity of this effect in two countries: Poland and United States. Different in many aspects, these populations still exhibited the same pattern of results. Further, our findings cohere with political ideology shifts following terrorist attacks (38). Hence, the results suggest a universal character of the threat-to-conservatism path.

Our results have crucial, practical implications, since they suggest that forthcoming elections can be biased toward right-wing, conservative candidates. People simply seek stability and order, which seem to be more pronouncedly exhibited by conservative candidates. Our findings also have important theoretical implications, as the current pandemic created a unique opportunity to validate the Parasite Model of Democratization (14). We found strong support for it – pathogen threat boosted preference of values typical for social conservatism. We also provided evidence against an alternative explanation of threat boosting support for status quo, because support was also greater for less liberal (or more centrist) counter-candidates, if participants were to choose among them.

Regarding applicability of our findings, we believe that all candidates should reframe their political communication. In the moral foundation theory (39, 40), loyalty and authority constitute the so-called binding values. These moral values are more prominent in conservatives but are not ignored by liberally oriented individuals either. Hence, communication appealing to these values may be an efficient way to mitigate the shift of values in societies: they are accepted by the core supporters of liberal candidates and are actively sought by individuals affected by the coronavirus threat. In general, our results highlight how important it is for people to perceive the world as a stable and predictable place. This preference is even stronger in times of chaos. Those interested in human behavior should consider its importance in the current models explaining how we judge and think.

Perceived political and nonpolitical dissimilarity were associated with negative emotions, prejudice, and lower affiliative intentions among both liberals and conservatives, more strongly in the former

Ideological Conflict and Prejudice: An Adversarial Collaboration Examining Correlates and Ideological (A)Symmetries. Chadly Stern, Jarret T. Crawford. Social Psychological and Personality Science, March 30, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1177/1948550620904275

Abstract: In an adversarial collaboration, we examined associations among factors that could link ideological conflict—perceiving that members of a group do not share one’s ideology—to prejudice and affiliation interest. We also examined whether these factors would possess similar (“symmetrical”) or different (“asymmetrical”) associative strength among liberals and conservatives. Across three samples (666 undergraduate students, 347 Mechanical Turk workers), ideological conflict was associated with perceived dissimilarity on political and nonpolitical topics, as well as negative emotions. Perceived political and nonpolitical dissimilarity were also associated with negative emotions, prejudice, and lower affiliative intentions among both liberals and conservatives. Importantly, however, perceived political dissimilarity was associated with negative emotions, prejudice, and lower affiliative intentions more strongly among liberals. Some inconsistent evidence also suggested that perceived nonpolitical dissimilarity was associated with prejudice and lower affiliative intentions more strongly among conservatives. These findings document nuance in relationships that could link ideological conflict to prejudice.

Keywords: ideological conflict, prejudice, ideological symmetry, ideological asymmetry

Females are more likely to tweet about the virus in the context of family, social distancing & healthcare, males are more likely to tweet about sports cancellations, the virus global spread & political reactions

Covid-19 Tweeting in English: Gender Differences. Mike Thelwall. Institute of Health, University of Wolverhampton. https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/2003/2003.11090.pdf

Abstract: At the start of 2020, COVID-19 became the most urgent threat to global public health. Uniquely in recent times, governments have imposed partly voluntary, partly compulsory restrictions on the population to slow the spread of the virus. In this context, public attitudes and behaviors are vitally important for reducing the death rate. Analyzing tweets about the disease may therefore give insights into public reactions that may help guide public information campaigns. This article analyses 3,038,026 English tweets about COVID-19 from March 10 to 23, 2020. It focuses on one relevant aspect of public reaction: gender differences. The results show that females are more likely to tweet about the virus in the context of family, social distancing and healthcare whereas males are more likely to tweet about sports cancellations, the global spread of the virus and political reactions. Thus, women seem to be taking a disproportionate share of the responsibility for directly keeping the population safe. The detailed results may be useful to inform public information announcements and to help understand the spread of the virus. For example, failure to impose a sporting bans whilst encouraging social distancing may send mixed messages to males


Quantifying, and Correcting For, the Impact of Questionable Research Practices on False Discovery Rates in Psychological Science

Kravitz, Dwight, and Stephen Mitroff. 2020. “Quantifying, and Correcting For, the Impact of Questionable Research Practices on False Discovery Rates in Psychological Science.” PsyArXiv. March 26. doi:10.31234/osf.io/fu9gy

Abstract: Large-scale replication failures have shaken confidence in the social sciences, psychology in particular. Most researchers acknowledge the problem, yet there is widespread debate about the causes and solutions. Using “big data,” the current project demonstrates that unintended consequences of three common questionable research practices (retaining pilot data, adding data after checking for significance, and not publishing null findings) can explain the lion’s share of the replication failures. A massive dataset was randomized to create a true null effect between two conditions, and then these three practices were applied. They produced false discovery rates far greater than 5% (the generally accepted rate), and were strong enough to obscure, or even reverse, the direction of real effects. These demonstrations suggest that much of the replication crisis might be explained by simple, misguided experimental choices. This approach also produces empirically-based corrections to account for these practices when they are unavoidable, providing a viable path forward.

Even Prosocially Oriented Individuals Save Themselves First: Social Value Orientation, Subjective Effectiveness and the Usage of Protective Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany

Leder, Johannes, Alexander Pastukhov, and Astrid Sch├╝tz. 2020. “Even Prosocially Oriented Individuals Save Themselves First: Social Value Orientation, Subjective Effectiveness and the Usage of Protective Measures During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany.” PsyArXiv. March 30. doi:10.31234/osf.io/nugcr

Abstract: We investigated the perception and the frequency of various protective behavior measures against COVID-19. Although our sample (German general public, N = 419, age = 38.07 (15.67) years, female = 71.1 % (diverse = 0.5%), students = 34.37%) consisted mostly of prosocially oriented individuals, we found that, above all, participants used protective measures that protected themselves. They consistently shunned measures that have higher protective value for the public than for themselves, which indicates that public protective value comes second even for prosocially oriented individuals. Accordingly, health communication should focus on emphasizing a measure’s perceived self-protective value by explaining how it would foster public protection that in the long run will protect the individual and the individual’s close relations.