The Influence of Existential Threat and Tolerance Salience on Anti-Islamic Attitudes in American Politics
© 2019 International Society of Political Psychology Fierce public discussion has centered on anti-Islamic attitudes and tolerance in America and the West more broadly. The present research explored whether the awareness of mortality (a common theme in politics, e.g., war/terrorism, health care, abortion, and so on) and tolerance salience might influence (1) the endorsement of anti-Islamic attitudes in American politics and (2) political orientation. Study 1 (n = 79) was conducted in lab and Study 2 (preregistered, n = 396) replicated it online; both obtained the same results. In a neutral-value-prime condition, American participants reminded of mortality (vs. control topic) more strongly endorsed a Congressman’s anti-Islamic statements about Rep. Ellison. However, in a tolerance-value-prime condition, participants reminded of mortality maintained their acceptance of Rep. Ellison’s beliefs and practices. Political orientation was not impacted. Implications for terror management theory (TMT), other theories of existential dynamics and motivated conservative political ideology, and both recent and contemporary American politics are discussed.
Vail, Kenneth E.; Courtney, Emily; and Arndt, Jamie, "The Influence of Existential Threat and Tolerance Salience on Anti-Islamic Attitudes in American Politics" (2019). Psychology Faculty Publications. 53.