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Childhood harshness induces long-lasting preference for authoritarian leaders

 

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Type:   Article
 
Titre:   Childhood harshness induces long-lasting preference for authoritarian leaders
 
Auteur(s):   Safra, Lou (PhD) - École normale supérieure - Paris (ENS Paris) (Auteur)
Algan, Yann (1974-...) - Département d'économie (Auteur)
Tecu, Teodora - University of Bucharest (Auteur)
Grèzes, Julie - École normale supérieure - Paris (ENS Paris) (Auteur)
Baumard, Nicolas - École normale supérieure - Paris (ENS Paris) (Auteur)
Chevallier, Coralie - École normale supérieure - Paris (ENS Paris) (Auteur)
 
In:   Evolution and Human Behavior
 
Date de publication:   2017-09
 
Volume:   38
 
Numéro:   5
 
Pages:   645-651  p.
 
ISSN:   10905138
 
DOI:   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2017.05.001
 
Mots-clés:   [en] Authoritarianism, Poverty, Childhood, Social perception, Dominance, Politics
 
Résumé:   [en] Understanding the origins of political authoritarianism is of key importance for modern democracies. Recent works in evolutionary psychology suggest that human cognitive preferences may be the output of a biological response to early stressful environments. In this paper, we hypothesized that people's leader preferences are partly driven by early signals of harshness. We experimentally elicited children's (Study 1) and adults' (Study 2) political preferences using faces controlled for dominance and trustworthiness and showed that early childhood harshness has an enduring effect on adult political attitudes. Importantly, this effect was further confirmed using self-reported extreme authoritarianism (Study 2) and by the analysis of the large database of the European Value Survey (Study 3). We discuss the potential political implications of this early calibration of leader preferences.
 
 

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