Extremism reduces conflict arousal and increases values affirmation in response to meaning violations

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18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the social psychological threat-compensation literature, there is an apparent contradiction whereby relatively extreme beliefs both decrease markers of physiological arousal following meaning violations, and increase the values affirmation behaviors understood as a palliative responses to this arousal. We hypothesize that this is due to the differential impact of measuring extremism on behavioral inhibition and approach systems following meaning violations, whereby extremism both reduces markers of conflict arousal (BIS) and increases values affirmation (BAS) unrelated to this initial arousal. Using pupil dilation as a proxy for immediate conflict arousal, we found that the same meaning violation (anomalous playing cards) evoked greater pupil dilation, and that this pupillary reaction was diminished in participants who earlier reported extreme beliefs. We also found that reporting extreme beliefs was associated with greater affirmation of an unrelated meaning framework, where this affirmation was unrelated to physiological markers of conflict arousal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126–131
JournalBiological Psychology
Volume108
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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