Date of Graduation

Summer 2020

Degree

Master of Science in Psychology

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Wayne D. Mitchell

Keywords

persuasion, socialism, capitalism, political leaning, Implicit Association Test, implicit attitudes, conservative, progressive

Subject Categories

Other Psychology | Political Science | Social Psychology

Abstract

Anti-socialist propaganda and media have swayed individuals to skepticism and fear about socialism. The propaganda, however, does not reflect necessarily the truth about socialism, in its persuasion against it. Media often uses persuasion techniques to influence opinions and beliefs. The primary focus of this study was to assess whether persuasion could be used to persuade participants’ implicit attitudes towards socialism. Participants were persuaded with pro-socialism content, anti-socialism content, and neutral content; and then completed an Implicit Association Test. It was hypothesized that the participants in the pro-socialism condition would have an implicit bias towards socialism, the participants in the anti-socialism condition would have an implicit bias towards capitalism, and the participants in the neutral condition would have implicit biases congruent with their political leaning. Political leaning (conservative or progressive) and being in the pro-socialism condition were found to be significant predictors of implicit bias towards socialism. Progressives were more likely to have a bias towards socialism and conservatives in the pro-socialism condition acted against the persuasion, thus having a strong bias towards capitalism. Overall, the results of this study provide evidence that persuasion can be used to sway implicit attitudes towards socialism, however, the persuasion effect is dependent upon political leaning.

Copyright

© Amber Yanez

Open Access

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