Further to the right: Uncertainty, political polarization and the American “Tea Party” movement

Gaffney, Amber M.; Rast, David E.; Hackett, Justin D.; Hogg, Michael A.
Social Influence

The Tea Party entered U.S. politics in a time of economic uncertainty, positioning itself far to the right of the conservative movement. Its highly conservative position has allowed it to provide a clear self-definition that contrasts with more moderate and liberal political views. To examine the Tea Party’s influence on American political prototypes, we manipulated the comparative context in which participants received an extreme pro-normative message from a Tea Party group. Conservatives (N = 47), primed with self-uncertainty, supported the extreme position, indicating more conservative views for both themselves and similar others when primed with an intergroup versus an intragroup context. Results are discussed in terms of the ability for extreme ingroup factions to polarize prototypes under self-conceptual uncertainty. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.