Pluralistic Ignorance and Political Correctness: The Case of Affirmative Action

Political Psychology, Vol. 21, pp. 267-276, 2002

10 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2010 Last revised: 5 Oct 2011

See all articles by Leaf Van Boven

Leaf Van Boven

University of Colorado Boulder

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

The pressure to appear politically correct can have important consequences for social life. In particular, the desire to appear politically correct, and to avoid being seen as racist, sexist, or culturally insensitive, can lead people to espouse publicly support for politically correct issues, such as support for affirmative action, despite privately held doubts. Such discrepancies between public behavior and private attitudes, when accompanied by divergent attributions for one's own behavior and the identical behavior of others, can lead to pluralistic ignorance. Two studies investigated pluralistic ignorance with respect to affirmative action among undergraduates. Their survey responses indicate that people overestimate their peers' support for affirmative action and underestimate their peers' opposition to affirmative action, that people's ratings of the political correctness of supporting affirmative action are correlated with their overestimation of support for affirmative action, an that people view their own attitudes toward affirmative action as unique.

Keywords: pluralistic ignorance, political correctness, affirmative action

Suggested Citation

Van Boven, Leaf, Pluralistic Ignorance and Political Correctness: The Case of Affirmative Action (2000). Political Psychology, Vol. 21, pp. 267-276, 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1532603

Leaf Van Boven (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Boulder ( email )

University of Colorado Boulder
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, 345 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States
303.735.5238 (Phone)
303.492.2967 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://psych.colorado.edu/~vanboven/

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