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Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification$
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John T. Jost, Aaron C. Kay, and Hulda Thorisdottir

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320916

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320916.001.0001

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On the Automaticity of Nationalist Ideology: The Case of the USA

On the Automaticity of Nationalist Ideology: The Case of the USA

(p.53) CHAPTER 3 On the Automaticity of Nationalist Ideology: The Case of the USA
Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification

Melissa J. Ferguson

Travis J. Carter

Ran R. Hassin

Oxford University Press

How do people typically form opinions and make choices about national matters? What factors influence how people behave in the political realm? The majority of work on these questions in psychology and political science has emphasized the role of consciously accessible influences on political behavior, such as political party affiliation and an assortment of principles and values. Although there is no doubt that people consciously consult their nationalist ideologies in order to make decisions in the political arena, the focus of this chapter is on the possibility that nationalist ideological knowledge also operates automatically to guide and influence opinions and actions. Much work in social, cognitive, and political psychology would suggest that stored representations of nationalist-relevant knowledge, attitudes, goals, and behaviors can be activated by nationalist symbols and cues outside of people’s awareness and intention, and then shape and influence their behavior. This possibility is considered in detail, and recent empirical findings in support of it are also summarized.

Keywords:   automaticity, nationalism, political parties, symbols

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