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Concept: Ideology


Arguments that abortion causes women emotional harm are used to regulate abortion, particularly later procedures, in the United States. However, existing research is inconclusive. We examined women’s emotions and reports of whether the abortion decision was the right one for them over the three years after having an induced abortion.

Concepts: Longitudinal study, Causality, United States, Poverty in the United States, Metaphysics, Emotion, Roe v. Wade, Ideology


Embodied cognition research has shown how actions or body positions may affect cognitive processes, such as autobiographical memory retrieval or judgments. The present study examined the role of body balance (to the left or the right) in participants on their attributions to political parties. Participants thought they stood upright on a Wii(™) Balance Board, while they were actually slightly tilted to the left or the right. Participants then ascribed fairly general political statements to one of 10 political parties that are represented in the Dutch House of Representatives. Results showed a significant interaction of congruent leaning direction with left- or right-wing party attribution. When the same analyses were performed with the political parties being divided into affiliations to the right, center, and left based on participants' personal opinions rather than a ruling classification, no effects were found. The study provides evidence that conceptual metaphors are activated by manipulating body balance implicitly. Moreover, people’s judgments may be colored by seemingly trivial circumstances such as standing slightly out of balance.

Concepts: Left-wing politics, Cognition, Right-wing politics, Conservatism, Political spectrum, Wii Balance Board, Political party, Ideology


Exposure to news, opinion and civic information increasingly occurs through social media. How do these online networks influence exposure to perspectives that cut across ideological lines? Using de-identified data, we examined how 10.1 million U.S. Facebook users interact with socially shared news. We directly measured ideological homophily in friend networks, and examine the extent to which heterogeneous friends could potentially expose individuals to cross-cutting content. We then quantified the extent to which individuals encounter comparatively more or less diverse content while interacting via Facebook’s algorithmically ranked News Feed, and further studied users' choices to click through to ideologically discordant content. Compared to algorithmic ranking, individuals' choices about what to consume had a stronger effect limiting exposure to cross-cutting content.

Concepts: Algorithm, Sociology, Science, Ranking, Marxism, Social, Facebook, Ideology


Political candidates often believe they must focus their campaign efforts on a small number of swing voters open for ideological change. Based on the wisdom of opinion polls, this might seem like a good idea. But do most voters really hold their political attitudes so firmly that they are unreceptive to persuasion? We tested this premise during the most recent general election in Sweden, in which a left- and a right-wing coalition were locked in a close race. We asked our participants to state their voter intention, and presented them with a political survey of wedge issues between the two coalitions. Using a sleight-of-hand we then altered their replies to place them in the opposite political camp, and invited them to reason about their attitudes on the manipulated issues. Finally, we summarized their survey score, and asked for their voter intention again. The results showed that no more than 22% of the manipulated replies were detected, and that a full 92% of the participants accepted and endorsed our altered political survey score. Furthermore, the final voter intention question indicated that as many as 48% (±9.2%) were willing to consider a left-right coalition shift. This can be contrasted with the established polls tracking the Swedish election, which registered maximally 10% voters open for a swing. Our results indicate that political attitudes and partisan divisions can be far more flexible than what is assumed by the polls, and that people can reason about the factual issues of the campaign with considerable openness to change.

Concepts: Thought, Voting, Aristotle, Elections, Opinion poll, Poll, Election, Ideology


The French Revolution brought principles of “liberty, equality, fraternity” to bear on the day-to-day challenges of governing what was then the largest country in Europe. Its experiments provided a model for future revolutions and democracies across the globe, but this first modern revolution had no model to follow. Using reconstructed transcripts of debates held in the Revolution’s first parliament, we present a quantitative analysis of how this body managed innovation. We use information theory to track the creation, transmission, and destruction of word-use patterns across over 40,000 speeches and a thousand speakers. The parliament as a whole was biased toward the adoption of new patterns, but speakers' individual qualities could break these overall trends. Speakers on the left innovated at higher rates, while speakers on the right acted to preserve prior patterns. Key players such as Robespierre (on the left) and Abbé Maury (on the right) played information-processing roles emblematic of their politics. Newly created organizational functions-such as the Assembly president and committee chairs-had significant effects on debate outcomes, and a distinct transition appears midway through the parliament when committees, external to the debate process, gained new powers to “propose and dispose.” Taken together, these quantitative results align with existing qualitative interpretations, but also reveal crucial information-processing dynamics that have hitherto been overlooked. Great orators had the public’s attention, but deputies (mostly on the political left) who mastered the committee system gained new powers to shape revolutionary legislation.

Concepts: Left-wing politics, Europe, Right-wing politics, Political spectrum, French Revolution, Liberalism, Anarchism, Ideology


This article analyzes the sociodemographic network characteristics and antecedent behaviors of 119 lone-actor terrorists. This marks a departure from existing analyses by largely focusing upon behavioral aspects of each offender. This article also examines whether lone-actor terrorists differ based on their ideologies or network connectivity. The analysis leads to seven conclusions. There was no uniform profile identified. In the time leading up to most lone-actor terrorist events, other people generally knew about the offender’s grievance, extremist ideology, views, and/or intent to engage in violence. A wide range of activities and experiences preceded lone actors' plots or events. Many but not all lone-actor terrorists were socially isolated. Lone-actor terrorists regularly engaged in a detectable and observable range of activities with a wider pressure group, social movement, or terrorist organization. Lone-actor terrorist events were rarely sudden and impulsive. There were distinguishable behavioral differences between subgroups. The implications for policy conclude this article.

Concepts: Sociology, Violence, Behavior, Motivation, Terrorism, Engagement, Rebellion, Ideology


System justification theory (SJT) posits that members of low-status groups are more likely to see their social systems as legitimate than members of high-status groups because members of low-status groups experience a sense of dissonance between system motivations and self/group motivations (Jost, Pelham, Sheldon, & Sullivan, 2003). The author examined the status-legitimacy hypothesis using data from 3 representative sets of data from the United States (American National Election Studies and General Social Surveys) and throughout the world (World Values Survey; total N across studies = 151,794). Multilevel models revealed that the average effect across years in the United States and countries throughout the world was most often directly contrary to the status-legitimacy hypothesis or was practically zero. In short, the status-legitimacy effect is not a robust phenomenon. Two theoretically relevant moderator variables (inequality and civil liberties) were also tested, revealing weak evidence, null evidence, or contrary evidence to the dissonance-inspired status-legitimacy hypothesis. In sum, the status-legitimacy effect is not robust and is unlikely to be the result of dissonance. These results are used to discuss future directions for research, the current state of SJT, and the interpretation of theoretically relevant but contrary and null results. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2013 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: United States, Sociology, U.S. state, All rights reserved, Political philosophy, Ideology, Liberal democracy, Civil liberties


Previous work identified an asymmetry in tissue desaturation changes in the left and right quadriceps muscles during on-ice skating at maximal speed in males. The effect of changing race distance on the magnitude of desaturation or leg asymmetry is unknown.

Concepts: Energy, Muscle, Change, Quadriceps femoris muscle, Ice skating, Ideology, Speed skating


There is often a curious distinction between what the scientific community and the general population believe to be true of dire scientific issues, and this skepticism tends to vary markedly across groups. For instance, in the case of climate change, Republicans (conservatives) are especially skeptical of the relevant science, particularly when they are compared with Democrats (liberals). What causes such radical group differences? We suggest, as have previous accounts, that this phenomenon is often motivated. However, the source of this motivation is not necessarily an aversion to the problem, per se, but an aversion to the solutions associated with the problem. This difference in underlying process holds important implications for understanding, predicting, and influencing motivated skepticism. In 4 studies, we tested this solution aversion explanation for why people are often so divided over evidence and why this divide often occurs so saliently across political party lines. Studies 1, 2, and 3-using correlational and experimental methodologies-demonstrated that Republicans' increased skepticism toward environmental sciences may be partly attributable to a conflict between specific ideological values and the most popularly discussed environmental solutions. Study 4 found that, in a different domain (crime), those holding a more liberal ideology (support for gun control) also show skepticism motivated by solution aversion. (PsycINFO Database Record © 2014 APA, all rights reserved).

Concepts: Scientific method, Sociology, Science, Political philosophy, French Revolution, Liberalism, Political party, Ideology


Almost 40 years ago, evidence from large studies of adult twins and their relatives suggested that between 30 and 60 % of the variance in social and political attitudes could be explained by genetic influences. However, these findings have not been widely accepted or incorporated into the dominant paradigms that explain the etiology of political ideology. This has been attributed in part to measurement and sample limitations, as well the relative absence of molecular genetic studies. Here we present results from original analyses of a combined sample of over 12,000 twins pairs, ascertained from nine different studies conducted in five democracies, sampled over the course of four decades. We provide evidence that genetic factors play a role in the formation of political ideology, regardless of how ideology is measured, the era, or the population sampled. The only exception is a question that explicitly uses the phrase “Left-Right”. We then present results from one of the first genome-wide association studies on political ideology using data from three samples: a 1990 Australian sample involving 6,894 individuals from 3,516 families; a 2008 Australian sample of 1,160 related individuals from 635 families and a 2010 Swedish sample involving 3,334 individuals from 2,607 families. No polymorphisms reached genome-wide significance in the meta-analysis. The combined evidence suggests that political ideology constitutes a fundamental aspect of one’s genetically informed psychological disposition, but as Fisher proposed long ago, genetic influences on complex traits will be composed of thousands of markers of very small effects and it will require extremely large samples to have enough power in order to identify specific polymorphisms related to complex social traits.

Concepts: Sample, Genetics, Sociology, Greek loanwords, Related, Communism, Ideology