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Collectivism as a Moderator of the Link between Political Ideology and Social Attitudes
Much conflict in our society derives from the divide in people’s political beliefs, as it often predicts social attitudes. However, the strength of this relationship differs between people of different cultural value orientations. Four studies examined the interaction between political ideology and collectivism on social attitudes. Studies 1 and 2 examined people’s xenophobic reactions to Ebola and terrorism threat. Overall, more conservative people were more xenophobic. However, political ideology predicted xenophobia less strongly among high than low collectivists. Study 3 examined support for pro-environmental policies. More conservative people showed less pro-environmental support, and political ideology predicted pro-environmental support less strongly among high than low collectivists. Study 4 manipulated people’s collectivistic and individualistic tendencies and examined their xenophobic responses to Zika threat. Exploratory analysis suggested that individualism increased xenophobia among highly conservative participants, whereas collectivism did not. It hinted at the role of individualism accentuating ideological polarization whereas collectivism attenuating it.