Writing autobiographical narratives increases political conservatism

J. Lammers, T. Proulx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Two experiments show that writing chronological autobiographical narratives increases political conservatism, defined as an ideology of resistance to social change. When writing chronological autobiographical narratives, we hypothesized that people would re-experience the events of their life in a way that portrays the current situation as the result of past personal actions and choices. This awareness should evoke a general sense that the current situation is not the result of chaos and randomness, but that the way things are is the way things should be. This sense of order makes people feel that the status quo should be maintained and causes a corresponding shift towards resisting social change. Experiment 1 shows that only writing chronological autobiographical narratives increase political conservatism. Experiment 2 shows that only writing autobiographical narratives increases political conservatism. Together, these experiments demonstrate that the experience of writing chronological autobiographies systematically affects political thinking.
Keywords: Conservatism, Narratives, Choice
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-691
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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