Samantha Nierer

The Individual Need for Control in Conservatism

Presented by: Samantha Nierer
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Benjamin Wagner, Associate Professor of Psychology

Research has shown that liberals possess a relatively external locus of control and conservatives have more internal locus of control. We explored whether personality variables related to control related to political beliefs among STAC students. The characteristics relating to control that were tested were intolerance of ambiguity, openness to experience, uncertainty avoidance, and self-esteem. The participants were given four different surveys that tested for each of those four characteristics. We hypothesize that individuals who are more conservative will perceive they have a higher need for control, higher intolerance of ambiguity, lower openness to experience, higher uncertainty avoidance, and lower self-esteem compared to more liberal individuals. Because conservative ideology is associated with dogmatism, authoritarianism, and racial prejudice, individuals who are more conservative have a need to have control over the changes in society that will have an effect on their personal lives.