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Personality and social attitudes: Evidence for positive-approach motivation

Corr, P. J., Hargreaves-Heap, S., Russell, A. , Tsutsui, K. & Seger, C. (2013). Personality and social attitudes: Evidence for positive-approach motivation. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(7), pp. 846-851. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2013.07.012


Extensive research has linked general personality factors to social attitudes, but there has been comparatively little work on the roles played by specific approach-avoidance personality factors, especially positive-approach ones. Here we relate such factors to the two main clusters of social attitudes (Right-Wing Authoritarianism, RWA; and Social Dominance Orientation, SDO), and related cognitive constructs (Need for Cognition and Need for Closure). Results revealed: (a) positive-approach motivation is consistently related to both RWA and SDO, with little contribution from negative-avoidance motivation; and (b) negative-avoidance motivation played a part in Need for Cognition (negatively related) and Need for Closure (positively related). These data challenge previous theorizing concerning the role of fear/anxiety in social attitude formation and prejudice more generally. We conclude that, to a larger extent than previously thought, approach-related personality factors underpin the positive reinforcement of social attitudes and prejudice. Our results may help to account for the failure of programmes designed to reduce prejudice which have been based on the reduction of negative emotion and motivation.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2013, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: Social attitudes; Prejudice; Personality; FFM; BAS; BIS; RWA; SDO; Need for Cognition; Need for Closure
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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