social sciences

Rise of the Right (Introduction)

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts, links can be found at the bottom of this article.

When it comes to the division in politics according to the right and left wing, the popularity for either of these two seems to follow a continuous cycle. However, the constant phase shifts in this cycle are not entirely clear, and sometimes difficult to determine. Generally speaking, leftist views include ideas related to liberalism and right wing voters are more likely to support conservative ideas. According to Carmines and D’amico (2015), liberals are more likely to be in favor of redistribution within society through social services, and they are also more supportive of progressive ideas. Whereas right wing supporters tend to be more conservative and hold more traditional views, this also includes that the government intervention should stay minimum.

There are different theories on what shapes people’s political views, these include: life events, values people hold, and dispositions. First of all, in terms of life events, it has been found that individuals who experienced a type of economic crisis (e.g. a recession) are more likely to hold leftist views (Giuliano & Spilimbergo, 2014). Therefore, from this finding, one could argue that life events could influence people’s political views.

Second, in regard to values, Graham et al (2012) developed five different values that can be attributed to both political ideologies, fairness, harm, authority, loyalty, and purity. Liberal ideologues tend to find fairness and caring for others of importance, while conservative views relied on all five values, care, authority, fairness, loyalty, and purity. Nevertheless, how these values are interpreted is different for both sides. Right wing supporters, or conservatives, see fairness as not breaking the law, but they are less bothered by the equability (Haidt, Graham, Joseph, 2009).

Third, apart from the life events people endured or the fundamental values they hold, there are more important dimension to how people’s political beliefs could be shaped. Research has found that certain aspects of disposition could ultimately influence people’s stances on important issues. For instance, it has been found conservatism is linked to intolerance to ambiguity and heightened perception of a dangerous world (Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, Sulloway, 2013). The same study found right-wing authoritarianism to be negatively correlated to openness to experience. Those who score high on openness to experience might be more interested in learning about new cultures (Lall & Sharma, 2009). Thus an individual’s disposition can be a factor in their political views.

Largely, there seems to be a consensus that right-wing politics are gaining ground, with some, more than often, controversial right-wing candidates gaining popularity in a myriad of countries. These include Donald Trump in the United States, Marine Le Pen in France, Norbert Hofer in Austria, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and Frauke Petry in Germany. Among these right-wing politicians there seems to be at least one similarity, and that is their stance on immigration policies. Aside from the three dimensions mentioned that could influence people’s left or right wing preferences, there could be other underlying processes that sparked new popularity for right-wing parties. What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties? In this review, recent research will be explored to find answers to the aforementioned question.

I wrote a paper on this topic as part of a course during my Bachelor in psychology. It has been divided into 4 different posts.
Part 1: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Part 2: What could have triggered the rise in popularity for right-wing parties in Europe?
Concluding Remarks

Carmines, E. G., & D’Amico, N. J. (2015). The new look in political ideology research. Annual Review of Political Science, 18, 205-216.

Giuliano, P., & Spilimbergo, A. (2014). Growing up in a Recession. The Review of Economic Studies, 81(2), 787-817.

Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S. P., & Ditto, P. H. (2012). Moral foundations theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Forthcoming.

Jost, J. T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A. W., & Sulloway, F. J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological bulletin, 129(3), 339.

Lall, M. & Sharma, S.  (2009). Personal growth and training and development. New Dehli: Excel Books.

social sciences

What are you like? What does your personality predict?

Psychology has created many personality tests that help predict and understand people’s behavior. However one of the most used tests seems to be the Big Five test. This test changed a lot in it’s beginning phases, at the end of the nineteenth century. But now the test includes 5 different traits, which is often abbreviated to OCEAN.

OCEAN stands for the following traits: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and neuroticism. A Big Five test includes scales measuring these five constructs. The beauty of this test is that these traits have been proven to be quite stable over a (person’s) lifetime. And these constructs have been used to measure links with other behaviors or personality traits. For instance, these have been linked to political preference, work performance, health behaviors, and even your social media behavior. (Link below to take the test!)

Big Five traits
As mentioned earlier, the test measures five different traits. The first trait, openness, is about one’s openness to new experiences. If you score high on this trait, you could be considered curious, and interested in arts or music, and you have an active imagination.
Second, there is conscientiousness, this has to do with being organized. This means you’re reliable in your work, and you do things efficiently.
Then there is extraversion, probably one of the most known traits of the Big Five. People who score high on this trait are sociable, outgoing, and not likely to be reversed or timid.
The fourth trait is agreeableness, this is your tendency to agree with others and to cooperate. If you score low on this, you are more likely to blame others, start fights, and be rude.
Lastly, there is neuroticism, people who score high on this are more likely to be emotionally unstable, worry a lot, and get nervous.

Job performance
As mentioned earlier, these traits are linked to behaviors in certain settings. In a job-related setting, in which one has to be social, you could imagine that extraversion would be beneficial for performance. This turned out to be the case according to research done by Barrick and Mount (1991), They also found that conscientiousness was beneficial for most types of jobs.

Political preferences
And in terms of political preferences, center-right voters score a bit higher on conscientiousness, whereas center-left voters scored higher on agreeableness and openness (Capara, Barbaranelli, & Zimbardo, 1999).
Openness to experience is negatively related to conservatism, this means that those who tend to score low on this trait are more likely to hold conservative views. Extraversion is linked to political participation, that is carried out through group settings, which intuitively makes sense since you will be spending time with others. Furthermore, extroverts are also more likely to engage in political discussions, however, interestingly enough do not necessarily possess more political knowledge. Those who score high on openness to experience do seem to have more of this knowledge. And lastly, highly agreeable individuals tend to avoid political discussions (Mondak & Halperin, 2008), and one could speculate that they would do so to avoid situations in which they might have to disagree, this might create an uncomfortable situation.

Health behaviors 
Conscientiousness is linked to behaviors that promote health, agreeableness is linked to behaviors that include less substance use. While both behaviors predict less risk-taking in traffic situations. The same researchers that found these links argue that knowledge of such associations can improve programs aimed to increase/promote help. For instance, they propose that those scoring low on conscientiousness might benefit more from programs that involve peers (Booth-Kewely & Vickers, 1994).

Social media behaviors
Those scoring high on openness to might be more likely to share and post intellectual information (Marshall, Lefringhausen, & Ferenczi, 2015). People who use Facebook for socializing score higher on neuroticism, whereas people who use Twitter for the same purpose score higher on openness. Individuals high in neuroticism and extraversion preferred Facebook over Twitter (Hughes, Rowe, Batey,  & Lee, 2012). The amount of Facebook friends has also been studied, neuroticism is negatively linked to this amount. This means that those high in neuroticism have fewer friends. And extraversion is positively linked, thus scoring higher on this trait means having more Facebook friends. Neurotics also engage in ‘liking’ others’ posts more and are part of more Facebook groups. The authors argue that these individuals tend to experience more negative emotions and therefore are more likely to take part in behaviors that might prompt support (Bachrach et al, 2012).

Take the Big Five test!

Inventory used to describe traits, very interesting read!

Bachrach, Y., Kosinski, M., Graepel, T., Kohli, P., & Stillwell, D. (2012). Personality and patterns of Facebook usage. In Proceedings of the 4th Annual ACM Web Science Conference (pp. 24-32). ACM.
Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (1991). The big five personality dimensions and job performance: a meta‐analysis. Personnel psychology, 44(1), 1-26.
Booth‐Kewley, S., & Vickers, R. R. (1994). Associations between major domains of personality and health behavior. Journal of personality, 62(3), 281-298.
Capara, G. V., Barbaranelli, C., & Zimbardo, P. G. (1999). Personality profiles and political parties. Political psychology, 20(1), 175-197.
Hughes, D. J., Rowe, M., Batey, M., & Lee, A. (2012). A tale of two sites: Twitter vs. Facebook and the personality predictors of social media usage. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(2), 561-569.
Marshall, T. C., Lefringhausen, K., & Ferenczi, N. (2015). The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates. Personality and Individual Differences, 85, 35-40.
Mondak, J. J., & Halperin, K. D. (2008). A framework for the study of personality and political behaviour. British Journal of Political Science, 38(02), 335-362.