Team-authored study examines social morality, political ideology adoption
Reactivity to negativity is associated with the adoption of the majority-social morality and political ideology, according to a study by doctoral candidate Xia Zheng, distinguished professor Annie Lang, and doctoral students Anthony Almond and Harry Yaojun Yan.
“It takes guts to be a rebel! A dynamic coordination account of the relationship between motivational reactivity, social morality, and political ideology” was published in Politics and Life Sciences this February.
The study tested two sets of competing hypotheses about the relationship between trait reactivity to positive and negative stimuli, moral stances on social principles and political ideology.
The classic view argues that a specific political ideology or social morality results from a specific motivational reactivity pattern. The dynamic coordination account suggests that trait motivational reactivity modulates an individual’s political ideology and social morality as a result of the majority political beliefs in their immediate social context.
The team used a survey including subjects from a liberal-leaning context to test the hypotheses. It found that reactivity to negativity was associated with the adoption of the dominant social morality and political ideology. Reactivity to positivity was associated with the adoption of non-dominant social moral and political stances, the team concluded.
Many colleagues associated with The Media School provided valuable feedback for the manuscript, Zheng said, including Minchul Kim, PhD20; Yanqin Lu, MA’13, PhD’17; assistant professor Mike Gruszczynski; and associate professor Andrew Weaver.