Social Identity and the Use of Ideological Categorization in Political Evaluation

Ingrid J. Haas, Christopher R. Jones, Russell H. Fazio

Abstract


In this research, we address a longstanding question concerning how individuals evaluate social and political issues. We focus on the role that political self-identification plays when individuals evaluate policy statements. In a laboratory setting, participants completed a task facilitation procedure, in which they made paired sets of judgments about a series of policy statements. Relative to a control task, ideological categorization of policy statements as liberal or conservative influenced the ease of evaluation. On experimental trials that began with ideological categorization, policy evaluations that were consistent with the participant’s own ideology were made more quickly than responses that were ideologically inconsistent and more quickly than responses following a control judgment. In three experiments, we show that this effect is stronger for individuals with more accessible ideological identification (Experiment 1) and more extreme ideological identification (Experiment 2), and that it holds when examining partisan instead of ideological identification (Experiment 3). The findings suggest that the use of ideological category information can facilitate and interfere with evaluative judgments of political issues, and that the use of such categories varies as a function of individual differences in the strength of political identification.

Keywords


political cognition; political attitudes; political identity; evaluation; social identity; social categorization

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https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v7i1.790




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ISSN: 2195-3325
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