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 23, 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 23, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

Thousands Who Can't Afford Medical Care Flock to Free US Clinic

AFP (July 23, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th. Thousands turned out for a free clinic run by "Remote Area Medical" with a visit from the Governor of Virginia. Duration: 2:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme

AP (July 23, 2014) Six people were indicted Wednesday in an international ring that took over more than 1,000 StubHub users' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets that were then resold. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

9/11 Commission Members Warn of Terror "fatigue" Among American Public

Reuters - US Online Video (July 22, 2014) Ten years after releasing its initial report, members of the 9/11 Commission warn of the "waning sense of urgency" in combating terrorists attacks. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
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