Publication Date

Spring 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Clifton M. Oyamot


Collectivism Individualism, Conservatism, Culture, Political Psychology, Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Vertical Individualism

Subject Areas

Psychology; Political science; Social psychology


After an extensive literature review on authoritarianism and right-wing ideology, Jost, Kruglanski, Glaser, and Sulloway (2003) developed a model of conservatism as motivated social cognition. The model asserts that feelings of uncertainty, fear, and threat stimulate existential, epistemic, and ideological social-cognitive motives, which in turn lead to political conservatism in the forms of resistance to change and endorsement of inequality. The model, however, generally bypassed the notion that situational factors, such as cultural values, might also be influential in the manifestation and shaping of conservative ideologies. This study included situational factors such as the role of a hierarchical cultural dimension (Vertical Individualism) on conservative beliefs in the forms of resistance to change and endorsement of inequality. A battery of surveys was administered to assess the relationship between culture and conservatism. The surveys were administered to an American university sample (N=157, 56 males and 101 females) as well as to general population samples from the USA (N=299, 140 males and 159 females) and Sweden (N=164, 73 males and 91 females) for cross-cultural comparisons. Results indicated that Vertical Individualism (VI) is indeed associated with conservatism and that this association holds cross-culturally. A multiple regression analysis demonstrated that VI is an appropriate addition to Jost et al.’s (2003) model of conservatism with respect to endorsement of inequality, but not for resistance to change. Theoretical and applied results and implications are discussed.