Research links liberal and conservative ideological orientations with variation on psychological and cognitive characteristics that are important for perceptual processes and decision-making. This study investigates whether this variation can impact the social behaviors of liberals and conservatives. A sample of subjects (n = 1,245) participated in a modified public goods game in which an intragroup inequality was introduced to observe the effect on individuals' tendency toward self-interested versus prosocial behavior. Overall, the contributions of neither liberal- nor conservative-oriented individuals were affected by conditions of a general intragroup inequality. However, in response to the knowledge that group members voted to redress the inequality, levels of contribution among liberals significantly increased in comparison to the control. This was not true for conservatives. The results provide evidence that differences in ideological orientation are associated with individual differences in social cognition.
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Are liberals and conservatives differentially affected by social cues about group inequality?
Vol. 39 • No. 1