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Extremism reduces conflict arousal and increases values affirmation in response to meaning violations

Sleegers, Willem W.A., Proulx, Travis ORCID: and van Beest, Ilja 2015. Extremism reduces conflict arousal and increases values affirmation in response to meaning violations. Biological Psychology 108 , pp. 126-131. 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2015.03.012

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In the social psychological threat-compensation literature, there is an apparent contradiction whereby relatively extreme beliefs both decrease markers of physiological arousal following meaning violations, and increase the values affirmation behaviors understood as a palliative responses to this arousal. We hypothesize that this is due to the differential impact of measuring extremism on behavioral inhibition and approach systems following meaning violations, whereby extremism both reduces markers of conflict arousal (BIS) and increases values affirmation (BAS) unrelated to this initial arousal. Using pupil dilation as a proxy for immediate conflict arousal, we found that the same meaning violation (anomalous playing cards) evoked greater pupil dilation, and that this pupillary reaction was diminished in participants who earlier reported extreme beliefs. We also found that reporting extreme beliefs was associated with greater affirmation of an unrelated meaning framework, where this affirmation was unrelated to physiological markers of conflict arousal.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: Meaning; Threat; Extremism; Pupil; Affirmation; Inhibition
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0301-0511
Date of Acceptance: 6 March 2015
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 09:38

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