Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Abortion-Rights and Anti-Abortion Groups Share Some Values

30.01.2006


People with strong views on abortion and other controversial issues tend to exaggerate differences of opinion they have with their opponents, a new University of Florida study finds.



The research shows that the middle ground can be reached on intellectual terms but often is not because individuals view their opponents’ arguments as attacks upon their core values and therefore themselves, said John Chambers, a UF psychology professor.

"Members of partisan social groups often view their adversaries with suspicion, distrust and outright animosity," said Chambers, whose study appears in the January 2006 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science (previously the American Psychological Society). "It is not unusual to hear loyal members of the Republican Party complain about Democrats’ ’attack on traditional family values and the free market,’ and to hear loyal Democrats chastise Republicans for their ’war on the poor’ or their ’siege on the environment.’"


Such inflamed beliefs not only characterize disputes between these two political parties, but also can be heard in debates between other social groups with competing ideologies, such as labor-management conflicts, environmentalist-business struggles, tensions between warring nations and race-related problems, Chambers said.

People with contrasting views assume their adversaries contest the core values they care about most deeply, but opposing groups share more beliefs than they realize, he said.

The study surveyed 199 abortion-rights and anti-abortion students in an elementary psychology course at the University of Iowa. They were presented with two abortion-rights value issues – women’s reproductive rights and freedom from government interference in private lives – and two anti-abortion issues – the value of human life and a moral code of sexual conduct. The students were asked to rate their own opinions and to estimate that of the typical person with the opposite view.

"To be sure, real differences of opinion existed between the groups," said Chambers, who did the research with Robert Baron, a University of Iowa psychologist and Mary Inman, a Hope College psychologist. "Compared to pro-life participants, pro-choice participants had more favorable personal attitudes toward the pro-choice issues and less favorable attitudes toward the pro-life issues, and vice versa."

But abortion-rights participants perceived much more disagreement with their adversaries about the abortion-rights issues, such as women’s reproductive rights, than they perceived about anti-abortion issues, such as a moral code of sexual conduct, Chambers said. On the other hand, anti-abortion participants perceived much more disagreement with their abortion-rights adversaries about the anti-abortion issues than about the abortion-rights issues, he said.

At the same time groups perceived large differences of opinion with their adversaries about issues that were important to their own side, the groups actually believed that they and their adversaries agreed on issues that were important to their adversaries’ side, the study shows. For example, abortion-rights people believed that they and anti-abortion people both favored anti-abortion issues, such as the value of human life.

"What’s happening is that the two groups assume that the nature of the debate is really a matter of disagreement about their own sides’ core issues," Chambers said. "Each side is assuming that people in the other group oppose what they hold most dear to themselves – what’s most important to their side – but in fact their adversaries really don’t oppose them."

Chambers believes the findings can be used to better understand inter-group conflict and how groups perceive each other, and to reduce stereotyping. If both sides can think about their differences in terms of what is most important to their adversaries, it might reduce conflict.

"Pro-life people need to understand that pro-choice people are not necessarily opposed to the value of human life or a moral code of sexual conduct, but they’re just more strongly in favor of women’s reproductive rights and freedom from government interference in private lives," he said. "At the same time, pro-choice people should see that pro-life people are not against women’s reproductive rights and freedom from government interference, they’re simply more supportive of the value of human life and a moral code of sexual conduct."

Walter Stephan, an emeritus psychology professor at New Mexico State University and expert in the area of inter-group relations, said Chambers’ research is valuable. "If the findings from this study can be put in the hands of partisans, they hold the promise of reducing the intensity of some of the major conflicts of our times," he said.

Download the article. For more information, contact John Chambers at (352) 392-0601 or jrchamb@ufl.edu.

Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. The Association for Psychological Science represents psychologists advocating science-based research in the public’s interest.

John Chambers | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/media/releases/2006/pr060126.cfm

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Method of Characterizing Graphene

Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.

Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

3D printer inks from the woods

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

How circadian clocks communicate with each other

30.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Graphene and quantum dots put in motion a CMOS-integrated camera that can see the invisible

30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>