Why We Believe in Democracy: Testing Theories of Attitude Functions and Democracy

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Abstract

This study tested different attitude function theories, as well as hypotheses democratic theorists have developed regarding the bases of pro‐democratic attitudes. Two hundred and sixty‐six undergraduates explained why they believed in democracy, rating the aptness of 40 sentences operationalizing attitude functions, as well as the persuasiveness of six arguments framed in terms of these functions. Factor analysis suggested the existence of either four or six distinct attitude functions. Functional saliences were weakly predictive of persuasiveness ratings, and regression analyses revealed semipartial correlations between functions and age, estimated parents' income, and attitude strength. Implications were drawn for both functional theory and democratic theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-440
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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