Term of Award

Summer 2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy Hackney

Committee Member 1

Karen Naufel

Committee Member 2

Lois Duke-Whitaker

Abstract

The current research assessed whether a statement by a deviant political ingroup (versus outgroup) member elicited measureable differences on trivialization, cognitive dissonance, rape myth acceptance, or decision to vote for that candidate, and if explicitly “debunking” the statement made by this politician further impacted these variables. Participants were randomly assigned to read a statement made by a Republican or Democratic politician, who would either be an ingroup or outgroup member based on the party affiliation of each participant. Results indicate that while there were no significant differences between Republican or Democratic participants overall, Republicans tended to trivialize the statements made by their ingroup politician more than Democrats. Contrary to the hypotheses, participants experienced similar levels of dissonance across voting decision after reading about a deviant ingroup member. However, consistent with theory, there was significantly lower dissonance among those who read about an outgroup politician and voted for an ingroup politician. While failing to reach statistical significance, a trend towards increased rape myth acceptance among participants who read about a deviant ingroup politician and then voted for them was revealed, and this was fully mediated by level of trivialization.Implications for social identity and cognitive dissonance theories are discussed.

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