Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Where you vote may influence how you vote

Date:
January 19, 2012
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
Passersby who stopped to answer surveys taken next to churches in the Netherlands and England reported themselves as more politically conservative and more negative toward non-Christians than did people questioned within sight of government buildings — a finding that may be significant when it comes to voting, according to a new study.

Passersby who stopped to answer surveys taken next to churches in the Netherlands and England reported themselves as more politically conservative and more negative toward non-Christians than did people questioned within sight of government buildings -- a finding that may be significant when it comes to voting, according to a Baylor University study.

The study, published online in the International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, adds to a growing body of evidence that religious "priming" can influence both religious and nonreligious people, Baylor researchers said. Priming occurs when a stimulus such as a verbal or a visual cue -- for example, the buildings that were in participants' line of vision during questioning -- influences a response.

The findings are significant in that churches and other buildings affiliated with a religious group are among the most common polling places, said psychologist Jordan LaBouff, Ph.D., lead author for the Baylor study.

"The important finding here is that people near a religious building reported slightly but significantly more conservative social and political attitudes than similar people near a government building," said co-author Wade Rowatt, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor. "In a close election, the place where people vote -- a school, a church, a government building -- could affect the outcome. For example, a higher percentage of people voting in a church instead of a school might vote for a conservative candidate or proposition."

He noted that a Stanford University study of an Arizona school funding referendum in 2000 showed that voters polled in schools were more likely to support a state tax increase than were those polled in churches or community centers. That study was published in 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Baylor study "raises questions about how our spaces can influence our attitudes," said LaBouff, a psychology lecturer at the University of Maine who collaborated on the research while a doctoral candidate at Baylor. "We should look carefully at places where important decisions are made."

He noted that while those conducting the survey made certain that the church or government building was within sight of the participant, they did not question people who were entering or leaving the buildings.

"We didn't want people who were there for the express purpose of going into a church, because that might mean they were inherently more religious," LaBouff said.

Another finding was that regardless of the setting, negativity toward Christians was not statistically significant among the culturally diverse group of passersby.

"Interestingly, these more negative attitudes toward non-Christian groups were held by a very diverse -- and largely non-Christian -- sample," LaBouff said. "The only people who weren't viewed negatively were Christians. They were a non-factor."

Passersby were asked to rate "outgroups" -- those who were different from themselves in terms of culture and/or religion. Groups listed included rich, poor, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, gay men, lesbian women, Africans, Asians, Europeans and Arabs. Participants were asked to rate their feelings of "coolness" or "warmness" toward certain groups on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the warmest.

Survey participants were diverse and multicultural -- 99 individuals from more than 30 countries. They were questioned by Baylor students during a study-abroad tour, and Baylor psychologists in the College of Arts & Sciences analyzed the data collected by the students in an advanced research methods class.

In Maastricht in the Netherlands, passersby were surveyed outside the Basilica of Saint Servatius and Maastricht Town Hall; in London, they were surveyed outside Westminster Abbey and Parliament. All the structures are located along major pedestrian paths.

Other study co-authors were Megan K. Johnson, a doctoral candidate at Baylor; and Callie Finkle, now a graduate student in global health at George Washington University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jordan P. LaBouff, Wade C. Rowatt, Megan K. Johnson, Callie Finkle. Differences in Attitudes Toward Outgroups in Religious and Nonreligious Contexts in a Multinational Sample: A Situational Context Priming Study. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 2011; 22 (1): 1 DOI: 10.1080/10508619.2012.634778

Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "Where you vote may influence how you vote." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119101335.htm>.
Baylor University. (2012, January 19). Where you vote may influence how you vote. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119101335.htm
Baylor University. "Where you vote may influence how you vote." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120119101335.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

AP (July 30, 2014) Scientists in Texas are studying the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 670 people across West Africa this year. Right now, the disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins