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13-02-2022 | Original Article

The spatial grounding of politics

Auteurs: Margarida V. Garrido, Ana R. Farias, Oleksandr V. Horchak, Gün R. Semin

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research

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Abstract

In three studies, we advance the research on the association between abstract concepts and spatial dimensions by examining the spatial anchoring of political categories in three different paradigms (spatial placement, memory, and classification) and using non-linguistic stimuli (i.e., photos of politicians). The general hypothesis that politicians of a conservative or socialist party are grounded spatially was confirmed across the studies. In Study 1, photos of politicians were spontaneously placed to the left or right of an unanchored horizontal line depending on their socialist-conservative party affiliation. In Study 2, the political orientation of members of parliament systematically distorted the recall of the spatial positions in which they were originally presented. Finally, Study 3 revealed that classification was more accurate and faster when the politicians were presented in spatially congruent positions (e.g., socialist politician presented on the left side of the monitor) rather than incongruent ones (e.g., socialist on the right side). Additionally, we examined whether participants’ political orientation and awareness moderated these effects and showed that spatial anchoring seems independent of political preference but increases with political awareness.

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Voetnoten
1
The photos of politicians used were taken from the following parliamentary website: https://​www.​parlamento.​pt/​DeputadoGP/​Paginas/​Deputados.​aspx. However, the parliament changes at least every 4 years, so it is possible that not all the photos of politicians we have used are still available.
 
2
As we were assigned a larger subject pool than expected, participants in Experiment 1 exceeded the sample size suggested by the power analysis. To ensure that the effect holds up to empirical scrutiny with a sample size suggested by power analysis, we removed the 40 last-run participants from Experiment 1, and thus equated the number of participants per experiment. In short, the analyses run on the data from 50 participants showed an almost identical pattern of results as the analyses run on the data from 90 participants. Specifically, the results showed that politician’s party membership was not a significant predictor (estimate =  − 0.28, SE = 0.22, t =  − 1.29, p = .23, 95% CI [− 0.71, 0.15]) of participants’ responses. However, introducing participants’ political orientation and political awareness to the model as additional predictors revealed a significant interaction between the politicians’ party membership and participants’ political awareness (estimate =  − 0.30, SE = 0.09, t =  − 3.30, p = .001, 95% CI [− 0.48, − 0.12]).
 
3
We excluded this participant’s data as the accuracy of only 10% would lead to the removal of 90% of observations during the analysis of response times, where only correct responses were considered. The analysis done on the accuracy data including this participant revealed an almost identical pattern of results. Specifically, there was a significant interaction between politicians’ party membership and screen side (estimate = 0.16, SE = 0.05, z = 3.44, p = .001, 95% CI [0.07, 0.25]), reflecting the fact that participants classified socialist politicians more accurately when they appeared on the left side (estimate = 0.15, SE = 0.06, z = 2.35, p = .019, 95% CI [0.02, 0.28]); and conservative politicians when they appeared on the right side (estimate =  − 0.16, SE = 0.06, z =  − 2.53, p = .012, 95% CI [− 0.29, − 0.04]).
 
4
Notably, truly right-wing participants made up only about 14% of the sample (see “Appendix 1”), and therefore these results should be interpreted with caution. Further statistical analyses regarding the moderating role of political orientation and awareness in spatial-grounding effects are provided in “Appendix 2”.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
The spatial grounding of politics
Auteurs
Margarida V. Garrido
Ana R. Farias
Oleksandr V. Horchak
Gün R. Semin
Publicatiedatum
13-02-2022
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-022-01654-2