How do dispositions-prejudice associations differ around the globe?
Jasper van Assche (PhD, Ghent University)
Abstract: Ample research in social, personality, and political psychology has examined the dispositions that lie at the basis of individual differences in prejudice. Such studies revealed strong, positive, and robust associations of right-wing attitudes and religiosity with various kinds of prejudice (e.g., racism, sexism, ageism, and homophobia). I highlight that the strength of these relationships is not the same everywhere across the globe, and it deems worthwhile and even necessary to employ a person x context multilevel framework that examines contextual-level variables curbing the individual-level dispositions-prejudice associations. Following a threat-constraint model, my analyses consistently reveal that contexts characterized by high threat attenuate – or constrain – the relationship between individual differences and several types of negative outgroup attitudes. In particular, a first set of studies presents cross-level interaction effects showing a strong relation between right-wing attitudes and prejudice in regions with a low right-wing ideological climate, whereas this relationship is weaker and often even absent in regions with a high right-wing climate. A second set of studies offers similar findings regarding religiosity and prejudice. Specifically, strong associations between being religious and being bigoted are found in regions low in power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity and collectivism, whereas such associations are weaker in regions that score high on those Hofstede dimensions. I propose norm setting as the theoretical mechanism through which threatening contexts develop and mobilize especially those least prone-to-prejudice to express more negative attitudes towards outgroups.
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