Authoritarians go with the flow: social norms moderate the link between right-wing authoritarianism and outgroup-directed attitudes

Paulina Gorska*, Anna Stefaniak, Katarzyna Lipowska, Katarzyna Malinowska, Magdalena Skrodzka, Marta Marchlewska

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This research aimed to provide a more nuanced understanding of the relations between social norms, right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), outgroup-directed prejudice, and hostile behavioral intentions toward outgroups. Three correlational studies, conducted in two countries and three different intergroup contexts (n1 = 997; n2 = 1011; n3 = 1992), investigated the moderating role of social norms (both positive and negative) on the relation between RWA and expression of prejudice as well as behavioral intentions toward outgroups. We found that in the presence of positive (i.e., tolerant) social norms, the previously well-established positive relation between RWA and prejudice is reduced or even reversed, whereas in the presence of negative (i.e., intolerant) social norms, this relation is strengthened. Additionally, the lower (vs. higher) prejudice of high-RWA individuals in the presence of positive (vs. negative) social norms mediated the link between RWA and behavioral intentions toward outgroups. The present research constitutes the first comprehensive demonstration of authoritarians' potential to be less prejudiced in response to prevailing tolerant social norms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-152
Number of pages22
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume43
Issue number1
Early online date4 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Right-wing authoritarianism
  • Social norms
  • Collective action
  • Prejudice

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