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A moral house divided: How idealized family models impact political cognition.


ABSTRACT: People's political attitudes tend to fall into two groups: progressive and conservative. Moral Politics Theory asserts that this ideological divide is the product of two contrasting moral worldviews, which are conceptually anchored in individuals' cognitive models about ideal parenting and family life. These models, here labeled the strict and nurturant models, serve as conceptual templates for how society should function, and dictate whether one will endorse more conservative or progressive positions. According to Moral Politics Theory, individuals map their parenting ideals onto the societal domain by engaging the nation-as-family metaphor, which facilitates reasoning about the abstract social world (the nation) in terms of more concrete world experience (family life). In the present research, we conduct an empirical examination of these core assertions of Moral Politics Theory. In Studies 1-3, we experimentally test whether family ideals directly map onto political attitudes while ruling out alternative explanations. In Studies 4-5, we use both correlational and experimental methods to examine the nation-as-family metaphor's role in facilitating the translation of family beliefs into societal beliefs and, ultimately, political attitudes. Overall, we found consistent support for Moral Politics Theory's assertions that family ideals directly impact political judgment, and that the nation-as-family metaphor serves a mediating role in this phenomenon.

SUBMITTER: Feinberg M 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5894964 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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