Send to

Choose Destination
Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2012 Jun;38(6):808-20. doi: 10.1177/0146167212439213. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Low-effort thought promotes political conservatism.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Arkansas, 211 Memorial Hall, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA.


The authors test the hypothesis that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism. In Study 1, alcohol intoxication was measured among bar patrons; as blood alcohol level increased, so did political conservatism (controlling for sex, education, and political identification). In Study 2, participants under cognitive load reported more conservative attitudes than their no-load counterparts. In Study 3, time pressure increased participants' endorsement of conservative terms. In Study 4, participants considering political terms in a cursory manner endorsed conservative terms more than those asked to cogitate; an indicator of effortful thought (recognition memory) partially mediated the relationship between processing effort and conservatism. Together these data suggest that political conservatism may be a process consequence of low-effort thought; when effortful, deliberate thought is disengaged, endorsement of conservative ideology increases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center