Emotional Responses to the Charlie Hebdo Attacks: Between Ideology and Political Judgment
26 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 21, 2015
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: Suggested Citation