Conservatism and attitudinal ambivalence: Investigating conflicting findings

Rikki H. Sargent, Leonard S. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Little published research addresses the relationship between conservatism and attitudinal ambivalence. Jost and Krochik (2014) found the two variables to be negatively related, such that as conservative (vs. liberal) affiliation increased, ambivalence toward attitude objects decreased. On the other hand, results from five studies conducted by our research team provided little to no support for the hypothesis (Newman & Sargent, 2019). Instead, they supported the opposite trend, where conservative (vs. liberal) affiliation was associated with more ambivalence. We identified two primary discrepancies between our previous research and Jost and Krochik's, including differences in the attitude objects assessed and in how attitude objects were presented to participants. This research addressed the discrepancies by using a subset of the attitude objects employed in Jost and Krochik's study and by manipulating the method of attitude object presentation between subjects. In line with our previous findings, the results indicated conservatism (vs. liberalism) to be positively correlated with objective ambivalence. Furthermore, attitude object presentation did not moderate the relationships between conservatism and ambivalence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109996
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Ambivalence
  • Conservatism
  • Political ideology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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