The present research utilizes an evolutionary framework to investigate the process underlying the recent rise of several populist, “strongmen” leaders. Specifcally, we propose that when people experience contingent (i.e., impending) ecological threats, their need for cognitive closure is activated, making them desire strong rules (i.e., a tight society) and to be guided by a strong leader. Further, we hypothesize that desire for cultural tightness, once activated by need for cognitive closure, augments peoples’ need for strong leaders. In two studies, we tested our hypotheses with respect to two of the most salient ecological threats currently afecting Europeans, namely COVID-19 (Study 1) and the war in Ukraine (Study 2). Results supported all our hypotheses, thereby shedding light on psycho-motivational underpinnings (i.e., need for cognitive closure and desire cultural for tightness) of the rise of populist leaders. Results thus corroborate the idea that populist leaders can use ecological threats-related uncertainty to maintain or gain power, and that ecological threats could bring to an alignment with right-wing ideas of people’s political attitudes.

Need for cognitive closure and desire for cultural tightness mediate the effect of concern about ecological threats on the need for strong leadership / Contu, Federico; Ellenberg, Molly; Kruglanski, Arie W.; Pantaleo, Giuseppe; Pierro, Antonio. - In: CURRENT PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 1046-1310. - (2023). [10.1007/s12144-023-05260-2]

Need for cognitive closure and desire for cultural tightness mediate the effect of concern about ecological threats on the need for strong leadership

Federico Contu;Giuseppe Pantaleo;Antonio Pierro
2023

Abstract

The present research utilizes an evolutionary framework to investigate the process underlying the recent rise of several populist, “strongmen” leaders. Specifcally, we propose that when people experience contingent (i.e., impending) ecological threats, their need for cognitive closure is activated, making them desire strong rules (i.e., a tight society) and to be guided by a strong leader. Further, we hypothesize that desire for cultural tightness, once activated by need for cognitive closure, augments peoples’ need for strong leaders. In two studies, we tested our hypotheses with respect to two of the most salient ecological threats currently afecting Europeans, namely COVID-19 (Study 1) and the war in Ukraine (Study 2). Results supported all our hypotheses, thereby shedding light on psycho-motivational underpinnings (i.e., need for cognitive closure and desire cultural for tightness) of the rise of populist leaders. Results thus corroborate the idea that populist leaders can use ecological threats-related uncertainty to maintain or gain power, and that ecological threats could bring to an alignment with right-wing ideas of people’s political attitudes.
2023
Ecological threats · Need for closure · Desire for tightness · Need for strong leaders
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Need for cognitive closure and desire for cultural tightness mediate the effect of concern about ecological threats on the need for strong leadership / Contu, Federico; Ellenberg, Molly; Kruglanski, Arie W.; Pantaleo, Giuseppe; Pierro, Antonio. - In: CURRENT PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 1046-1310. - (2023). [10.1007/s12144-023-05260-2]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1690142
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