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Publications [#352270] of Aaron C. Kay

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Journal Articles

  1. Ponce de Leon, R; Wingrove, S; Kay, AC (2020). Scientific skepticism and inequality: Political and ideological roots. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 91. [doi]
    (last updated on 2021/10/26)

    Abstract:
    Despite the recent influx of studies suggesting the negative societal impact of inequality, many remain skeptical of these scientific findings. Across four studies, we explore how political affiliation and social dominance orientation (SDO) interactively shape attitudes toward the emerging science on the repercussions of social inequality. Acceptance of this science was consistently polarized based on partisanship, with Republicans exhibiting less acceptance of the findings than Democrats. Consistent with a solution aversion perspective, correlational studies showed that this gap in acceptance was related to Republicans' distaste for policies they presumed would be introduced to solve this problem, rather than a direct aversion to equality itself (Studies 1a and 1b). Supporting this interpretation, experimental studies that manipulated the content of likely policy solutions to inequality to be less inconsistent with Republican beliefs resulted in abated Republican skepticism of these same findings (Study 2 and Study 3). However, we also observed an important boundary condition to the solution aversion effect and evidence for another driver of this case of denial: social dominance orientation (Study 2 and Study 3). The value of testing and considering multiple individual differences when explaining motivated scientific (dis)belief is discussed.


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