Departmental Seminar - Mark Brandt

Belief System Networks   What is the basic structure of belief systems? Clear answers to this fundamental question are not forthcoming. This is because we typically treat a belief system as a theoretical latent variable that causes people’s responses on attitudes and values relevant to the belief system. This approach

Start

27 June 2017 - 12 h 30 min

End

27 June 2017 - 14 h 00 min

Address

30 Avenue Antoine Depage - 1050 Brussels (Room DC8.322 - 8th floor, Building D, Campus Solbosch of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences - Université Libre de Bruxelles)   View map

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Departement Seminar

Belief System Networks

 

What is the basic structure of belief systems? Clear answers to this fundamental question are not forthcoming. This is because we typically treat a belief system as a theoretical latent variable that causes people’s responses on attitudes and values relevant to the belief system. This approach cannot assess a system of beliefs because it cannot assess the network of connections between the beliefs – attitudes and values – that make up the system; it collapses across them and the interrelationships are lost. In this talk, I will present new work where I conceptualize and analyze attitudes and values as interactive nodes in a network. With this approach and representative survey data, I examine several important questions in research on political belief systems: (Q1) What is central to belief systems (A1: identities)? (Q2) How many dimensions do belief systems have (A2: substantially more than 2)? (Q3) Are belief systems stable overtime (A3: yes)? (Q4) How does personality connect with belief systems (A4: via ideologies)? (Q5) How does threat connect with belief systems (A5: via many nodes)? (Q6) How do belief systems predict behavior (A6: it depends)? These questions (and preliminary answers) are an initial step towards taking seriously the idea that belief systems are in fact systems.

** Mark Brandt is an assistant professor in the Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University (The Netherlands)

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