chapter  5
Effects of Eplstemic Motivation on Conservatism, Intolerance, and Other System-Justifying Attitudes
WithJohn T. Jost, Arie W Kruglanski, Linda Simon
Pages 26

This chapter investigates the cognitive and motivational underpinnings of attitudes toward social and organizational systems. It draws on the theory of lay epistemics to address individual and situational variations in the manner and extent to which people are motivated to possess knowledge that is secure, stable, and permanent. The chapter presents new correlational and experimental evidence that connects epistemic motivational tendencies to "seize" and "freeze" upon information that is readily accessible to the formation of system-justifying attitudes. It examines correlational evidence is presented that connects the need for cognitive closure to one politically conservative attitude- namely, support for the death penalty-that reflects an unambiguous desire for swift and punitive action. The chapter focuses on experimental studies that demonstrate that increasing the need for cognitive closure has the effects of decreasing political tolerance and weakening commitment to democratic social norms, unless values for tolerance are chronically or temporarily accessible.