Oppositional Projection in Perceived Support for Cap and Trade

48 Pages Posted: 9 May 2014

See all articles by Dena M. Gromet

Dena M. Gromet

University of Pennsylvania

Leaf Van Boven

University of Colorado Boulder

Date Written: May 7, 2014

Abstract

Contrary to previous research on social projection, we found that people exhibit oppositional projection in the divisive intergroup context of politics and environmental policy: Individuals positively projected their own stance onto members of their political in-group, while negatively projecting their own stance onto members of their political out-group. Two studies demonstrated that oppositional projection occurred when people estimated the stances of fellow Democrat and Republican voters (Studies 1 and 2) and political elites (elected representatives; Study 2) toward a cap-and-trade policy to limit carbon emissions. Structural equation models indicated that people’s estimates of political in-group stances were strongly and positively predicted by their own attitudes, whereas people’s estimates of their political out-group were strongly and negatively predicted by estimates of their political in-group (reflecting people’s assumption that their out-group opposed their in-group). We discuss oppositional projection’s consequences for perceptions of political gridlock amongst elites.

Keywords: attitude, projection, politics, polarization, oppositeness, climate change

JEL Classification: D72, Q28

Suggested Citation

Gromet, Dena M. and Van Boven, Leaf, Oppositional Projection in Perceived Support for Cap and Trade (May 7, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2434271 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2434271

Dena M. Gromet (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3720 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Leaf Van Boven

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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