ERIC Number: ED250251
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Aug-1
Schemas and Symbolic Politics: The Cases of Racial and Gender Equality.
Sears, David O.; And Others
A simple symbolic politics model of public opinion is contrasted with a modified version that invokes cognitive organization and affective responses. Evidence is presented from a survey of 314 respondents from the 1982 National Election Study. Responses were obtained to symbols of political equality at different levels of abstraction (general, political, gender, and racial equality) and their effects on policy preferences were analyzed. There was considerable support for the simple symbolic politics approach in that affective responses to equality and other political symbols predicted preferences on women's issues, racial issues, government spending, and support for President Reagan. High levels of consistency existed between attitudes toward objects with similar manifest symbolism, and low levels existed when the objects had very dissimilar symbolism and no plausible schema connected them. The more politically informed were more likely to relate abstract political orientations to policy preferences with different manifest political symbolism when a plausible schema linked the two. Women applied notions of gender equality to political issues more widely than did men. It is suggested that schema use is enhanced by exposure to political information, and that schemas differ in their "basic" level of abstraction. (LH/Author)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revision of paper presented at the Annual Carnegie Symposium on Cognition (19th, Pittsburgh, PA, May 18-20, 1984) and the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (92nd, Toronto, Canada, August 24-28, 1984) under the title, "Gender Differences in the Electorate: The Role of Values."