Author ORCID Identifier

https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0575-1132

Year of Publication

2021

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department/School/Program

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher K. Marshburn

Abstract

Distancing—a cognitive reappraisal strategy—increases conciliatory policy support (i.e., policies redressing inequity) by reducing anger. Related but distinct research has used construal level theory (CLT), which explains the relationship between psychological distance and mental representations (e.g., events and attitudes), to explore intergroup relations. CLT demonstrates increased psychological distance induces abstract thinking, which leads to high-level construal (HLC) mindsets. HLC mindsets, like distancing, decrease political polarization and prejudice toward out-groups. As both distancing (an appraisal technique) and HLC mindsets (a potential outcome of appraisal techniques) may decrease political polarization and prejudice toward outgroups, across two experiments, the present work investigated whether HLC mindsets—and not specific (re)appraisal techniques—decrease anger, which, then, increase conciliatory policy support. In Study 1, participants were trained to apply either distancing, HLC, or LLC appraisal training (developed for this study) to examine if they produced HLC or LLC mindsets. In Study 2, conservative White Americans applied these appraisal training on images that induced anger toward Black people to examine HLC mindsets’ influence on anger and conciliatory policy support. I expected: (1) distancing and HLC appraisals to yield HLC mindsets (Study 1 and 2) and (2) HLC mindsets (yielded from distancing and HLC appraisals) to increase policy support through anger reduction (Study 2). Results partially supported hypothesis 1, whereby HLC appraisals consistently led to HLC mindsets. Counter to hypothesis 2, however, HLC mindsets decreased conciliatory policy support by increasing anger. Altogether, findings suggest distancing might not lead to HLC mindsets, but that HLC mindsets may decrease conservative White Americans’ conciliatory policy support for Black Americans by exacerbating anger.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2021.472

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