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Looking Beyond Threat: Personality, Ideology and Attitudes Towards Immigration

Looking Beyond Threat: Personality, Ideology and Attitudes Towards Immigration

February 7, 2011 -
4:15pm to 6:00pm
Event Speaker: 
Aina Gallego, Visiting Researcher, Stanford University.
Event Sponsor: 
The Munro Lectureship Fund and The Lane Center
Abstract: 
Personality characteristics and ideological motivations to regulate prejudice are powerful influences of attitudes towards immigration above and beyond the presence of material and cultural threats. Using a large, representative sample of the Dutch  population with high quality personality measures it is first shown that the personality traits of agreeableness and neuroticism are more strongly related to immigrant attitudes than well-known predictors such as unemployment. Second, even in a situation of material threat individuals who have a leftwing ideology and a tendency to engage in cognitive effort are able to overcome exclusionary reactions. Longitudinal data collected over the 2008-2009 period reveal that education does not prevent a growth in anti-immigrant sentiment among people whose economic situation deteriorates in an economic crisis. Ideology, on the contrary, is the most important protection against exclusionary reactions even under economic stress.
Biography: 

Aina Gallego is a visiting researcher at Stanford University.