Utopian Hopes or Dystopian Fears? Exploring the Motivational Underpinnings of Moralized Political Engagement
journal contributionposted on 10.04.2021, 17:16 authored by LJ Skitka, BE Hanson, DC Wisneski
© 2016, © 2016 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. People are more likely to become politically engaged (e.g., vote, engage in activism) when issues are associated with strong moral convictions. The goal of this research was to understand the underlying motivations that lead to this well-replicated effect. Specifically, to what extent is moralized political engagement motivated by proscriptive concerns (e.g., perceived harms, anticipated regret), prescriptive concerns (e.g., perceived benefits, anticipated pride), or some combination of these processes? And are the motivational pathways between moral conviction and political engagement the same or different for liberals and conservatives? Two studies (combined N = 2,069) found that regardless of political orientation, the association between moral conviction and political engagement was mediated by the perceived benefits of preferred but not the perceived harms of non-preferred policy outcomes, and by both anticipated pride and regret, findings that replicated in two contexts: legalizing same-sex marriage and allowing concealed weapons on college campuses.