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PERKINS, J.E. (1999). Political Ideology As Predicted by Parental Punishment, Formal Verses Concrete Reasoning, Moral Deve. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 2. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved December 9, 2023 .

Political Ideology As Predicted by Parental Punishment, Formal Verses Concrete Reasoning, Moral Deve

Sponsored by: KEITH SAWYER (sawyer@cherokee.nsuok.edu)
The ability to predict political ideology using scores from four scales, the Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning, Moral Development Scale, Religious Ideology Scale, Parental Anger Scale, plus gender was examined in this study. A Multiple Regression Analysis was performed to examine variable relationships to a participant`s measure of political ideology. Results indicated a significant ability to predict political ideology by using gender, the Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning, and Religious Ideology, (R = .490, F(3,54) = 5.696, p = .002). Study participants consisted of 58 college students recruited from an introductory and a child psychology course. Independent samples t-tests using gender as the grouping variable indicated significant differences evidenced only in the political ideology scale. Females were significantly more liberal than males, seperate variances t(32.5) = 2.507, p = .017. The significance of this study will reside in a better understanding of the formation process of an individual`s political ideology. The study will also serve as a basis of understanding the origin of legislative initiative.

Political Ideology: As Predicted by Parental Punishment, Formal Verses Concrete Reasoning, Moral Development, Gender, and Religious Ideology Political ideology, and the process by which it is formed, is a complicated formation. Socialization in the family, community mores, and religious affiliation as well as other factors seem to combine with a person`s personality to produce the individual political identity. While political values in this country are basically broken down into two groups, conservative and liberal, the extent to which contributing factors are influential to the political ideology formation process is as yet unknown. Lasswell (1930/1960) remarked that political convictions are "Rational in form, but from an irrational process". Lasswell points to the myriad of influences that leads one to a political stance. He also identified Freud`s defense mechanism of displacement as it applies to the process of political expression. Lasswell process is best represented as:p}d}r = P"where p equals private motives; d equals displacement on to a public object; r equals rationalization in terms of public interest; P equals the political man and the } equals transformed into"( Lasswell, 1930/1960, p. 75). Lasswell goes on to suggest that repressive childhoods and excessively strict up-bringing combine to restrict healthy expression of emotions and feelings in youth, and in return work to cause the person to express negative emotions in adulthood. These emotions are displaced through culturally approved methods of political idealism onto a substitute person or persons through legislative initiative. Schott (1992) working from Maslow`s theory of Self Actualization and from Jung`s work in personality types, hypothesizes why those who serve in administrative and political offices are not necessarily the best suited to the task. Schott states that Jung`s theory is speculative but that it offers a solid explanation regarding why those who are self actualizers are not found within administrative or political positions. Jung (1961) identified four dimensions of personality continua, those involving extroversion/introversion (E/I), sensing/intuiting (S/I), thinking/feeling (T/F), and judging/perceiving (J/P). Schott adds that statistics from the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), show that the most popular personality dimensions found in management and administrative positions are of the Extroverted Sensing Thinking Judging (ESTJ) type. Schott identifies these types as the polar opposites of the ideal personality type most needed in administrative and political positions. Schott also describes the ESTJ personality type as those who would most likely seek public offices as an extension of their personality. The ESTJ type has been called "Life`s Natural Administrator" (Kroeger, Thuesen. 1992, p. 369). These personality types reduce problems down to pure objective decisions and they are not afraid to point out the faults with other points of view. They are genuinely confused when they encounter others who differ in opinion and often engage in spirited debate. Kroeger also points out that ESTJ types experience difficulty in social situations where they are not in control of the events. While the ESTJ type is highly motivated and, within politics, commanding the requisite power to influence legislative decisions, they lack the ability to critically evaluate differing points of view and will most likely dismiss information that conflicts with their own agenda. Other investigators have examined the effect of childhood punishment on political attitudes. Elovitz (1996) discusses the anger and hatred evidenced in American politics, as well as the dominance of symbolism over realism, and the unusual preoccupation Americans have with violence. Elovitz`s work is closely related to the work by Ihanus (1996), which identifies how Russian society, through the use of excessively harsh corporal punishment, delivered by the parent, establish an "out of fear" obligatory adherance to authority and political ideology. Ihanus points to the use of unrealistic economic, and moral standards which form the basis of a predetermined and submissive existence of the populace. Parental punishment has been shown to contribute inversely to authoritarianism in women. Female children who experience harsh punishment in childhood tend to be more liberal compared to low punishment females (Milburn, 1995). Milburn also reports that high punishment females who seek psychological therapy score lower on authoritarian scales. Other studies have investigated the degree to which mother/child transacts, verbal dialogue, affect a child`s ability to understand the intricacies of political and social issues. Santoloupo (1994), showed that mothers who use more operational transacts that refine, extend, and critique the others viewpoint, enhance the child`s ability to understand issues compared to representational transacts which simply summarize another`s opinion. This study also showed that boys receive more operational transacts than girls, creating a void in female education and possibly hampering their ability to understand important social issues. As these children grow up and enter into the political world there could be a differential ability to critically evaluate issues. This lack of willingness to evaluate issues from differing views is evidenced within the political process today. One simply needs to turn on CNN to witness the obvious hostility exhibited by members of both political parties. Republicans take the position of moral superiority, right or wrong, while Democrats complain of the Republican`s inability to see the whole picture and their roughshod political tactics. Republican legislators have taken to using the term Democrat by dropping the "ic" when discussing democratic initiatives and legislative proposals (Elovitz, 1995). The term is used almost as an insult and clearly highlights a lack of respect for their political peers. Democrats have likewise alluded to the excessively harsh, punitive viewpoint of the conservatives as being cold hearted and lacking understanding or compassion. Political thinking requires an ability to critically evaluate important social issues. Each legislator brings their own personal schemas with them into the political process. Schott (1991) states that an individual`s schema plasticity determines their ability to incorporate another viewpoint and affects one`s ability to tolerate another`s point of view. It would then seem important to investigate factors that influence schema development and thinking ability. An individual`s political schema would seem to be the product of several familial and societal factors, the most important, in this author`s opinion, being moral development. If one considers political party affiliation as the lay person`s moral expression, and legislative initiative as the legislator`s most visible means of moral expression, then we may begin to examine political ideology formation. A legislator proposes legislative initiative based on their subjective moral position, as supported by their constituency. However, there exists insufficient information to support the process by which a person attains political ideology. If we look to identity formation we can see the influential facets that lead to personal identity formation which may be similar to the process of political ideology formation. It is known that those who are Identity Foreclosed (IF) tend to be strong conformists and yield to authority without making decisions for themselves (Jolley, & Mitchell. pp. 413). Identity Foreclosure is a status of identity whereby the individual has substantially avoided exploring a sense of self identity and has accepted predetermined choices of identity, usually those endorsed by their parents. They tend to ignore other points of view and strongly resist any attempt to re-examine their position. No attempt is made to explore other avenues of identity formation and they readily accept what is put before them. Those persons who have achieved Identity Achievement (IA) have allowed themselves to examine differing points of view and have established a sense of self values. They do not rely on others to provide a quick and readily available set of standards by which to evaluate a given situation and exhibit a sense of flexibility in their decision making style. With the understanding that there are numerous factors that impact a persons identity formation and political ideals, this study will examine the extent to which certain variables can predict political ideology. The study will attempt to show and demonstrate the extent to which a person`s political identity can be attributed to the below mentioned factors. If we can believe the rhetoric used by Democrats then we would expect Republicans to score low on a measure of formal reasoning while they themselves score high. The Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning (ATFR) was used to examine formal reasoning abilities as exhibited by liberals and conservatives. The ATFR was designed to specifically examine a subject`s level of cognitive development referenced by Inhelder and Piaget`s (1958) eight formal schema designs. To this end the test examines cognitive abilities across eight sub scales: (1) multiplicative compensations; (2) correlations; (3) probability; (4) combinations; (5) proportions; (6)forms of conservation beyond direct verification; (7) mechanical equilibrium; and (8) coordinating two or more systems of reference. Each sub scale consists of four items. Test designers remark that the ATFR has received favorable reviews including Fakouri (1985); and Mitchell (1985). While the ATFR was designed using a broad cross section of ethnic and economic levels of test design subjects, the designers remark that the majority of those used in designing the ATFR were middle class Caucasian students ranging in age from 11-19 years of age. There was also included a selected sampling of adult subjects in the design of the ATFR. To assess punishment experienced in childhood this study made use of The Parental Anger Scale (PAS), (Altemeyer, 1981). Originally designed with 24 items it was later shortened to 16 and has been used and published by Milburn (1995). The PAS, while designed by Altemeyer to measure parental anger, it also illustrates parental punishment across the misdeeds of the subject responding. Therefore, the instrument produces a valid indication of parental punishment styles. The third instrument used in the study was an excerpt from Altemeyer`s (1981) method of measuring Moral Reasoning (MR). Altemeyer designed this test using three moral dilemmas to be assessed by the respondent, however, time constraints of available subjects will preclude the use of all three measures. This study will then make use of the first moral dilemma as used by Altemeyer. Altemeyer provides a table by which a subjects responses can be scored. In answering the moral dilemma the subject first answered yes or no to the dilemma. Next, they provide a brief statement, in writing, regarding the ‘why` of their answer. The participants then select from a list the one reason that best describes their reason for answering the way they did. The reason corresponds to a level of moral reasoning as described by Altemeyer that is analogous to Kohlberg`s moral reasoning scale. To determine the degree of study subjects religious ideology the Dimension of Religious Ideology (RI), ( Putney, & Middleton, 1961; Robinson, & Shaver, pp. 663-666. 1973) was used. This scale uses 19 items divided into four dimensions, orthodoxy, fanaticism, importance, and ambivalence. The first three dimensions are assigned six items and the last item is assigned one. Instrument materials state that the first three dimensions are directly related to each other while the last is inversely related to the other three. The dimensions are stated to be related in differing degrees to personality characteristics such as authoritarianism, status concern, and conservatism. Each item is scored on a 7 point Likert scale with higher scores indicating high religious ideology. The Political Ideology (PI) that study participants exhibit will be measured using a seven centimeter line across which study subjects will mark a vertical line that indicates their relative political ideology. The left side of the line will be anchored Strong Liberalism and the right side of the line will be anchored as Strong Conservatism. A low score on the index will indicate liberalism while higher scores will indicate conservatism. This study examined the extent to which the five above mentioned variables, ATFR, PAS, MR, Gender, and RI can predict a persons political ideology (PI). Specifically, what mental processes (Formal or Concrete) as defined by Piaget, moral reasoning differences as described by Kohlberg, parental punishment experienced in childhood, gender, and religious ideology are exhibited by members of the two dominant political parties in the United States and do they predict a persons political ideology. It was hypothesized that there will be a positive relationship between subjects strength of Conservatism and Religious Ideology and Parental Punishment. Political Ideology was expected to present a negative relationship with Formal Reasoning and Moral Development. Gender, male = 1 and female = 2, was expected to relate negatively with Political Ideology. These hypotheses reflect the political platform stances of Republican and Democratic political parties.

Participants Experimental subjects consisted of 65 college students enrolled at Northeastern State University who were recruited from introductory and child psychology courses. It was necessary to exclude 7 survey responses due to incomplete or incorrectly completed forms leaving a total participation of 58 subjects. Participation require approximately one hour and no payment or extra credit was given. Apparatus Study subjects first indicated their political ideology by responding to the Political Ideology Scale. This was accomplished by participants answering a political ideology item scored on a seven centimeter scale. The scale was subdivided into tenths of centimeters. A score of .1 indicated strong liberalism, 3.5 indicated moderate political views, and a score of 7 was indicative of strong conservatism. The ATFR is scored in total as follows: Concrete (C) = 00-07 points; High Concrete (HC) = 08-14 points; Transitional (T) = 15-17 points; Low Formal (LF) = 18-24 points; and High Formal (HF) = 25-32 points. Each sub scale has a total possible points of 4. Higher total scores indicate a greater ability to reason in a formal, abstract, manner. The Parental Anger Scale (PAS) has a total possible point score of 80. The instrument measures parental reactance to misdeeds of the respondent. The PAS is measured on a 5 point scale, originally 1-5 with a 1 indicating harsh punishment. For purposes of this study and ease of scoring the scale will be reversed with a score of 1 indicating no punishment and a score of 5 indicating spanking. Specifically the scoring will be as follows: (1) No punishment; (2) Expressed disappointment; (3) Scolding; (4) Loss of privileges; and (5) Spanking. The Moral Reasoning scale has a possible score of six. This score corresponds to the table presented in Altemeyer`s book, Right Wing Authoritarianism (1981, p. 194). Altemeyer designed this table to correspond to the levels of moral reasoning presented by Kholberg. A score of one indicates lower moral reasoning and six indicates higher level moral reasoning. The Dimension of Religious Ideology scale, (RI), is scored on a seven point Likert scale. Specific scoring is as follows; 1) strong disagreement; 2) moderate disagreement; 3) slight disagreement; 4) no answer or don`t know; 5) slight agreement; 6) moderate agreement; 7) strong agreement. Design A Multiple Regression Analysis was performed to determine the degree to which the measures, ATFR, PAS, MR, Gender, and RI, relate to an individual`s political ideology (PI). The data were expected to indicate a significant relationship between political ideology and the predictor variables. An alpha level of .05 was used to test all hypotheses.Procedures Subjects were seated in a classroom and given an informed consent form. This informed the subjects that they were free to decline participation at any time during the experiment. It also informed the subjects that their responses were confidential. It was requested that they to reveal to no one their responses to the items on the instruments. Participants had approximately one hour to complete the experiment but no specific time requirements were made. Information regarding participant age, gender, race, and student classification was also gathered.

Participants consisted of 21 males and 37 females, 36% and 64% respectfully. Mean participant age was 22.069 and ranged from 18 to 49. Means and standard deviations for each scale are presented in Table 3. Multiple Regression analysis was performed to establish the relationship between the criterion variables (ATFR), (RI), (PAS), (MD), and gender to the dependant variable (PI). No data transformations were performed. The variables that were significant in predicting (PI), and their relatedness to each other, are presented in table one. It is important to note that there was little inter criterion variable relatedness. This allowed each criterion variable to be a separate and significant predictor of the dependant variable (PI).Table 1. Criterion and Dependant Variable Correlations (SEE TABLE SECTION)

Multiple Regression Analysis indicated a significant predictability of (PI) using Gender, ATFR, and RI scales, R = .490, F (3,54) = 5.696, p = .002. Table 4 presents the unstandardized regression coefficients (B), standardized coefficients (b), and the analysis of variance summary. The generated regression equation is Political Ideology = 2.468 + -1.220Gender + .068ATFR + .021RI. Confidence intervals around (PI) can be established by using the standard error of estimate (1.440). Moral Development and Parental Anger were not significantly predicative of political ideology. Criterion variable means and standard deviations are presented in table 2.Table 2. Descriptive Statistics (SEE TABLE SECTION)

Independent Samples t tests were also performed on each scale using gender as the grouping variable; however, significant differences existed only in the political ideology scale. Females rated themselves significantly more liberal M = 3.184 SD = 1.337, than males M = 4.319 SD = 1.814, separate variances t test, t ( 32.5) = 2.507, p = .017. The hypothesis that political ideology was positively related to religious ideology was supported; however, it was not related to parental anger. It was also noted that formal reasoning was positively related to conservative political ideology contrary to the hypothesis. Moral development was not related to political ideology.

The results of this study indicated that there is the ability to predict individual political ideology by using scores from the Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning, Religious Ideology, and gender. It is important however to discuss limitations associated with this study. As noted earlier in this report, this study made use of only one measure of moral development. Altemeyer`s original Moral Development Scale consisted of three moral dilemmas. In this study it was necessary to use only one dilemma due to time availability of study participants. It is possible that the one dilemma lacks singular validity in predicting moral development. Other results of this study warrant further investigation. Most notably the unexpected low scores on the Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning. The ATFR was normed using subjects ranging in age from 11-19 years of age. This study obtained a mean score of 15.897 on the ATFR which indicates participants are in a transitional phase of reasoning with scores ranging from 8 to 25. Essentially, participants were between High Concrete and Low Formal levels of reasoning. Frequency distributions of ATFR scores are depicted in figure 1. There is also a 7 point differential between the high score obtained in the study and the total possible score.Figure 1. Frequency Distribution of ATFR Scores.

(Figure Omitted)

It should also be noted that this study consisted of 10 (17.2%) seniors, 6 (10.3%) juniors, 27 (46.5%) sophomores, and 15 (25.8 %) freshman. Only 31% of study subjects scored above the transitional stage of reasoning. Scores on the ATFR were not related to student classification. This was the most distressing result of the study as the implications are grim. This low score indicates an inability to reason abstractly and would hinder ability to critically reason important social and political issues. If this trend continues into our elected political officials it could help explain the irrational behavior observed in national and local government ( Buffmire, 1995, Kennemer, 1995, Simon, 1995 ). It may also offer a partial explanation for the polarization that is exhibited by political party members and officials and their apparent lack of willingness to compromise on political issues. Further investigation is warranted to determine the degree to which formal reasoning is developed not only in our political leaders, but also in the general population. Another limitation of this study is the relatively small sample size and the fact that it originated from one geographical location (northeastern Oklahoma). It would be difficult to generalize to the population at large the results from this study given this limitation. Also, in view of the low scores on the ATFR one would hope that the sample is not representative of the general population. The significance of this research lie in the better understanding of the processes involved in political ideology development and factors that contribute to the political thought process. With this understanding there can be a basis for the study of legislative initiative. Understanding how cognitive and political ideology developmental processes affect political and administrative decisions will logically lead to how legislation is created and the origins of particular types of legislation. Once this is identified, there will be a natural progression into the enforcement of legislation. Who are the ‘targets` of legislation and how is the community at large affected? This leads to law enforcement practices, prosecutorial discretion, and defense litigation. If there can be an understanding of how political ideology and thought are developed then does there exist the possibility to predict the outcome of particular legislatures and other governmental agencies that are charged with enforcing our nation`s laws?

Altemeyer, R. A. (1981). Right Wing Authoritarianism. University of Manitoba Press. Arlin, P. K. (1984). Arlin Test of Formal Reasoning. East Aurora: Slosson Educational Publications, Inc. Buffmire, J. A. (1995). Are Politics for You? Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 26. 453-455. Elovitz, P. (1996). Taking conservatives seriously: Childhood punishment, denial, anger and rage at politicians. Journal of Psychohistory, 23. 269-275. Ihanus, J. (1996). Shame, Revenge and Glory: On Russian child rearing and Politics. Journal of Psychohistory, 23. 260-268. Jolley, J. M., & Mitchell, M. L. (1996). Lifespan Development: A Topical Approach. Brown and Benchmark. Dubuque, IA. Kennemer, W. N. (1995). Psychology and the Political Process. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 26. 456-458. Kroeger, O. & Thuesen, J.M. (1992). Type Talk At Work. New York: Delaccorte Press Lasswell, H., (1930/1960) Psychopathology and politics. New York: Viking Press. Milburn, M., & Conrad, S., (1996). The Politics of Denial. The Journal of Psychohistory 23. 238-251. Milburn, M., Conrad, S.D., Sala, F., & Carberry, S., (1995). Childhood Punishment, Denial, and Political Attitudes. Political Psychology, 16. 447-478. Putney, S., & Middleton, R. (1961). Dimensions and Correlates of Religious Ideologies. Social Forces, 39. 285-290. Robinson, J.P., & Shaver, P.R. (1973). Measures Of Social Psychological Attitudes (Rev. ed.). University of Michigan. Santoloupo, S., Pratt, M. W. (1994). Age, Gender, and Parenting Style Variations in Mother-Adolescent Dialogues and Adolescent Reasoning About Political Issues. Journal of Adolescent Research, 9. 241-261. Schott, Richard L. (1991). Administrative and Organizational Behavior: Some Insights From Cognitive Psychology. Administration and Society, 23. 54-73. Schott, R., (1992). Abraham Maslow, Humanistic Psychology, And Organizational leadership: A Jungian Perspective. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 32. 106-120. Simon, H. A. (1995). Rationality in Political Behavior. Political Psychology, 16. 45-61.

Table 1.   Criterion and Dependant Variable Correlations

POL GENDER ATFR RI POL --- -.342 .249 .246Gender --- -.124 .163ATFR --- .097RI ---

Table 2. Descriptive Statistics

N Mean Std. DeviationPOL 58 3.594 1.608ATFR 58 15.9 4.15RI 58 97.02 22.04GENDER 58


ATFR CLASS MD PAS POL RI AGEN 58 58 58 58 58 58 58Min 8 1 1 39 .4 45 18Max 25 4 6 74 7 136 49Mean 15.897 2.19 2.948 56.931 3.595 97.017 22.069Std. D. 4.149 1.017 1.83 7.789 1.608 22.038 5.669


Dependant Variable: POL N: 58 Multiple R: 0.490 Squared Multiple R: 0.240Adjusted Squared Multiple R: .198 Standard Error of Estimate: 1.440

Variable Coefficient Std Error Std Coef Tolerance T P(2 Tail)

Constant 2.468 1.242 0.0 1.988 .052Gender -1.220 .403 -0.368 .954 -3.027 .004ATFR 0.068 0.047 0.175 .971 1.456 .151RI 0.021 0.009 0.289 .959 2.384 .021

Analysis of Variance

Source Sum-of-Squares DF Mean Square F-Ratio PRegression 35.445 3 11.815 5.696 0.002Residual 112.004 54 2.074


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