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Power Versus Affiliation in Political Ideology: Robust Linguistic Evidence for Distinct Motivation-Related Signatures

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>4/09/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number9
Volume41
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)1195-1206
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Posited motivational differences between liberals and conservatives have historically been controversial. This motivational interface has recently been bridged, but the vast majority of studies have used self-reports of values or motivation. Instead, the present four studies investigated whether two classic social motive themes—power and affiliation—vary by political ideology in objective linguistic analysis terms. Study 1 found that posts to liberal chat rooms scored higher in standardized affiliation than power, whereas the reverse was true of posts to conservative chat rooms. Study 2 replicated this pattern in the context of materials posted to liberal versus conservative political news websites. Studies 3 and 4, finally, replicated a similar interactive (ideology by motive type) pattern in State of the State and State of the Union addresses. Differences in political ideology, these results suggest, are marked by, and likely reflective of, mind-sets favoring affiliation (liberal) or power (conservative).