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Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00026

Left threatened by Right: political intergroup bias in the contemporary Italian context

  • 1Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • 2Fondazione Santa Lucia (IRCCS), Italy
  • 3Dipartimento di Psicologia dei Processi di Sviluppo e Socializzazione, Università degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy

Using different evaluation targets (i.e., politicians’ pictures, ideological words, items referring to features attributed to political ingroup/outgroup) we characterized the intergroup bias among political groups in the Italian context (Study 1-2-3) and tested a model that may account for the bias itself (Study 3). For all evaluation targets, left-wing participants -compared to right wing participants - showed a greater intergroup bias, expressing more negative emotions towards the outgroup. The process was influenced by a greater perceived threat of the outgroup. Conversely, right-wing participants expressed the bias only when presented with ideological words. Our results provide a detailed description of how intergroup bias in Italy is differently expressed by the two ideological groups depending on the targets used to represent the political counterpart. Moreover, the results show that the stronger bias expressed by left-wing participants is driven by perceived threat of the outgroup.

Keywords: political intergroup bias, ideological conflict hypothesis, personalized politics, perceived threat, Entitativity, agentivity

Received: 07 Nov 2018; Accepted: 07 Jan 2019.

Edited by:

Beatrice De Gelder, Maastricht University, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Mario Dalmaso, Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization, University of Padua, Italy
Tiago Bortolini, Ufrj, Brazil  

Copyright: © 2019 Schepisi, Panasiti, Porciello, Bufalari and Aglioti. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Michael Schepisi, Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy,