Running for your life, in context: Are rightists always less likely to consider fleeing their country when fearing future events?

Ruthie Pliskin, Gal Sheppes, Eran Halperin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fear is a powerful motivator for the classic fight or flight response. Under extreme social and political circumstances, fear may lead people to emigrate from their land to protect themselves and their families. While ideology is related to differences in behavioral fear reactivity, little is known about how it moderates the effect of fear on flight intentions. In a large experimental study (. N=. 243), we examined our hypothesis that this moderating effect is context-dependent, such that the context's relation to the ideology determines its influence. In ideologically-irrelevant contexts, because rightists (versus leftists) are assumed to be more behaviorally reactive to fear, their willingness to consider flight should be more affected. In ideologically-relevant intergroup contexts, however, rightist ideology provides clear reaction guidelines ruling out flight, and therefore fear should have a weaker effect on rightists' (versus leftists') flight tendencies. Our findings supported these predictions, and their significance is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-95
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume59
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015

Keywords

  • Context
  • Fear
  • Flight
  • Ideology

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