Track 8: Personality Processes & Individual Differences
Anne-Sophie Chaxel (HEC Paris)

8D. Political Ideology

Saturday, March 5
3:45pm – 5:15pm EST
Discussant: Rashmi Adaval (University of Cincinnati)
MC: Claire Heeryung Kim (McGill University)
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Student Coordinator: Michelle Wang (Cornell University) (

Competitive Papers

The Impact of Framing on Political Conservatives’ Attitude toward Boundaries
Authors: Jianna Jin (The Ohio State University), Selin Malkoc (The Ohio State University)
Presenting Author: Jianna Jin (The Ohio State University)
While the global pandemic highlighted the importance of adhering to boundaries (e.g., social distancing rules), compliance with these measures has been politically divided. This research proposes one reason that may underlie the observed ideological asymmetries: Conservatives (vs. liberals) may be inherently more likely to associate boundaries with restrictions (studies 1a-1c). Capitalizing on conservatives’ positive perception of structure (study 2), we demonstrate that interventions that make structure-providing function of boundaries salient (e.g., framing a social distancing sign as providing structure) can improve conservatives’ attitude toward the boundaries (studies 3 and 4).
Service with a Smile: The Effects of Face Masks in Service Encounters
Authors: Matthias Eggenschwiler (University of St. Gallen), Marc Linzmajer (University of St. Gallen), Thomas Rudolph (University of St. Gallen)
Presenting Author: Matthias Eggenschwiler (University of St. Gallen)
A smile alone does not guarantee excellent customer service, but excellent customer service almost always starts with a smile. However, mask-wearing obligations in nearly all service interactions cover friendly smiles during COVID-19. Results from two studies indicate that customers can decode employee smiles even when covered with a face mask. If employees express a neutral or negative emotion, mask-wearing covers the unfavorable emotions and increases perceived warmth. Wearing a smiling mask, increases perceived warmth even more strongly, leading to better service evaluations through a serial mediation with rapport. These findings enrich our understanding of face masks in service encounters.
Distrust Toward Institutions Reduces Attitudinal Ambivalence
Authors: Claire Linares (HEC Paris), Anne-Sophie Chaxel (HEC Paris), Yegyu Han (IE Business School), DaHee Han (McGill)
Presenting Author: Claire Linares (HEC Paris)
Can distrust toward institutions increase societal polarization? We show that distrust toward institutions (e.g., government) reduces attitudinal ambivalence in a wide spectrum of unrelated societal topics. First, we obtained correlational evidence for the effect. We then obtained causal evidence. The last study replicated the effect in a more natural setting, following the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Because Donald Trump voters exhibited less trust in democratic institutions after Joe Biden’s victory, they reported less subjective ambivalence about a series of topics (controlling for mood and political leaning). These findings shed light on the broader implications of distrust in societies.
How Political Identity Reverses Ingroup Favoritism in Consumer Evaluations
Authors: Rishad Habib (Ryerson University), Ekin Ok (University of British Columbia), Karl Aquino (University of British Columbia)
Presenting Author: Rishad Habib (Ryerson University)
This research explores how consumers’ political identity influences their responses to racial diversity in various consumption contexts. Across five studies we demonstrate a reversal of the well-established effect of ingroup favoritism among White liberals who feel higher guilt over the perceived wrongdoings of their racial ingroup, and thus evaluate other Whites (vs. minorities) more negatively in their quest to improve racial equality. We further show that this effect is attenuated if customers experience a service failure, and when the non-White service provider explicitly denies that they are a victim of social injustice.

Flash Talks

Red Dog, Blue Dog: The Influence of Political Identity on Owner–pet Relationship and Owners’ Purchases of Pet-Related Products and Services
Authors: Lan Xia (Bentley University), Feng (Joyce) Wang (Bentley University)
Presenting Author: Lan Xia (Bentley University)
Relationships with pets reflect the identity and moral values of their owners. We examine how pet owners’ political identity (liberal–conservative) influences their relationship with their pets and their purchase behaviors. Using two primary studies and secondary data, we show that liberals tend to anthropomorphize their pets and care about their pets’ well-being as if they were human equals, underlined with individualizing values. Conservatives endorse binding values and emphasize control and psychological ownership. Liberals are more likely to buy medical-related products and services, while conservatives are more likely to buy branded luxury accessories for their pets.
Political Ideology Predicts Consumers’ Switching Behavior: Moderating Role of Product Involvement and Mediating Role of Maximization
Authors: Hyerin Han (University of Cincinnati), Hyun Euh (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign), Hyesung Yoo (University of Toronto), Akshay Rao (University of Minnesota)
Presenting Author: Hyerin Han (University of Cincinnati)
The present research demonstrates that conservatives, due to their tendency to maximize, switch brands more so than liberals do, for product classes which pose a limited threat should they fail (i.g., low-involvement products). On the contrary, for high-involvement products which carry a high risk to consumers if they fail, conservative consumers are more likely to repeat the purchase of the same brands that they used in the past, exhibiting lower switching frequency than liberal consumers due to their higher threat sensitivity.


When Crossing the Aisle Gets You in Trouble: Interpersonal Consequences of Receptiveness to Opposing Views
Authors: Mohamed A. Hussein (Stanford University), Christian Wheeler (Stanford University)
Presenting Author: Mohamed A. Hussein (Stanford University)
Past research has argued that we admire people who are receptive to opposing political views—yet opposing political views are often seen as rooted in propaganda and bias, and those who hold them are seen as evil and unintelligent. How can we reconcile these findings? We propose that past research disregarded a critical factor—partisan identity—and that including it can reconcile these findings. In four pre-registered studies (N =2,027) and contrary to past research, we found that unreceptive individuals were rated more favorably than receptive individuals. Consistent with our proposition that partisan identity reverses past findings, this unreceptiveness effect was found when partisan identity was evoked but not when it was absent and among those who reported high and moderate (but not low) identification with their partisan identity. In sum, we find that receptiveness to opposing political views carries reputational costs, not benefits, compared to unreceptiveness to those views.
The Fast and the Autonomous: Political Orientation and Need for Closure Predict Likelihood of Using Autonomous Vehicles
Authors: Andrew Perkins (Washington State University), Pavan Munaganti (San Jose State University), T.J. Weber (California Polytechnic State University), Deepika Naidu (Washington State University), Anabella Donnadieu (Washington State University)
Presenting Author: Pavan Munaganti (San Jose State University)
In the near future, autonomous vehicles are going to disrupt how we travel and commute. The consequences of transportation changing to an autonomous mode are vast and will imminently impact the finances, safety, and mobility of millions of consumers. In the present work, we propose that marketers and policymakers can use consumer political orientation as a segmentation and targeting variable for identifying likely versus unlikely adopters of autonomous vehicles. Utilizing geographic analysis of Google search data and two experiments, we find that political orientation is a reliable predictor of interest in and likelihood of trying autonomous vehicles. Need for closure, which relates to conservative political orientation, mediates this relationship, which is qualified by the population density where the consumer lives, such that the most likely consumers to try autonomous vehicles are liberals in urban areas and the least likely are conservative consumers in rural areas. We then discuss managerial implications.
Political Ideology's Effect on Brand Loyalty and Customer Dropout
Authors: Mike Lindow (University of Utah), Keith Botner (MMR Strategy Group), Arul Mishra (University of Utah), Himanshu Mishra (University of Utah)
Presenting Author: Mike Lindow (University of Utah)
Individuals’ political ideology has downstream effects on marketplace behavior, but prior psychological research gives conflicting predictions. Conservative risk aversion and responsiveness to fear could bolster a fear of missing out on other deals, while Liberal openness to new experiences and variety seeking could naturally transfer to seeking new products. We examine whether liberals or conservatives will place a higher focus on brand loyalty both semantically and behaviorally. We conduct a semantic analysis of the brand loyal construct in six languages and conduct a longitudinal field experiment considering spending behavior across self-identified conservative and liberal consumers. We find that across English and non-English languages, the construct of brand loyalty is more closely related to liberalism. We also find that liberal consumers are more likely to be loyal shoppers as shown in a lower drop-out rate compared to conservative shoppers.
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