Emotional Responses to the Charlie Hebdo Attacks: Between Ideology and Political Judgment

26 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2015

See all articles by Pavlos Vasilopoulos

Pavlos Vasilopoulos

Sciences Po - Center for Political Research (CEVIPOF)

George E. Marcus

Williams College

Martial Foucault

University of Montreal; Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

Date Written: November 21, 2015

Abstract

The finding that threat increases levels of authoritarianism has been well established in political research. The questions of individual differences and the psychological mechanism behind this switch, however still remain open as current literature offers two contrasting views. One line of research argues that threat increases authoritarianism among those with an authoritarian disposition. Another argues that it is the non-authoritarians who switch in the light of threat. By using a two wave panel study before and after the January 2015 twin attacks in Paris we argue that both trends occur simultaneously. Indeed our results show that both sides of the controversy are partly right and that the factor that drives the impact of authoritarian dispositions on support for authoritarian policies is emotional reactions. Anxiety lead respondents with a non-authoritarian ideological disposition to switch to authoritarianism following the attacks, yet produced no authoritarian change among right wing respondents. On the other hand, anger, did not turn left wing voters more authoritarian, but strengthened authoritarian tendencies among right wing respondents.

Keywords: political psychology; emotions; political behavior; France

JEL Classification: D70, D81, D72

Suggested Citation

Vasilopoulos, Pavlos and Marcus, George E. and Foucault, Martial, Emotional Responses to the Charlie Hebdo Attacks: Between Ideology and Political Judgment (November 21, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2693952 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2693952

Pavlos Vasilopoulos (Contact Author)

Sciences Po - Center for Political Research (CEVIPOF) ( email )

98 rue de l'Université
Paris, 75007
France

George E. Marcus

Williams College ( email )

Williamstown, MA 01267
United States

Martial Foucault

University of Montreal ( email )

Political Science Department
C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3T 1B9, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

Center for Interuniversity Research and Analysis on Organization (CIRANO)

2020 rue University, 25th floor
Montreal H3C 3J7, Quebec
Canada

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