Superheroes for change: Physical safety promotes socially (but not economically) progressive attitudes among conservatives

Jaime Napier, Julie Huang, Andrew J. Vonasch, John A. Bargh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Across two studies, we find evidence for our prediction that experimentally increasing feelings of physical safety increases conservatives' socially progressive attitudes. Specifically, Republican and conservative participants who imagined being endowed with a superpower that made them invulnerable to physical harm (vs. the ability to fly) were more socially (but not economically) liberal (Study 1) and less resistant to social change (Study 2). Results suggest that socially (but not economically) conservative attitudes are driven, at least in part, by needs for safety and security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-195
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018



  • political ideology
  • safety
  • social change
  • threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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