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  • 1.
    Dimdins, Girts
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Montgomery, Henry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Attitudes to freedom and equality among Swedish and American students2005In: Democracy unbound - Basic explorations, 2005, p. 29-43Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The study compared Swedish and American attitudes towards freedom and equality and examined the perceived trade-off between both concepts in the two groups. First-year students from Stockholm University and Stanford University took part in the study. The participants ranked ordered a number of values—among them equality of opportunity, freedom of lifestyle, economic freedom, and freedom of speech—and indicated to what extent they were prepared to increase freedom in their society at the expense of reducing equality, and vice versa. The participants also indicated their preferences for different options in public policy decision scenarios. There were no significant differences in terms of value preferences between both samples. But there was a difference in terms of readiness to compromise freedom for equality or equality for freedom. Participants with very strong preferences for either freedom or equality in the Swedish sample were more likely for compromise between both values than participants with strong preferences in the US sample. Participants with moderate preferences for freedom or equality in either sample were unlikely to give up freedom for equality or vice versa. The results are discussed in the context of previous cross-cultural studies comparing political value preferences in both countries.

  • 2.
    Dimdins, Girts
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Montgomery, Henry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Differentiating in-group favoritism from shared reality in intergroup perception.2004In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, Vol. 45, no 5, p. 417-427Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Two basic factors influence mutual ratings of social groups: in-group favoritism (related to the evaluative aspects of a rating) and the perception of shared reality (related to the descriptive aspects). In two studies, we examine the usefulness of Peabody's (1968) method of separating evaluative and descriptive aspects of rating in intergroup judgments. In Study 1, Latvian and Russian students made different evaluations of both groups, but the same groups agreed on the descriptive ratings. In Study 2, male and female psychology students rated each otter from own, in-group, and out-group perspectives. The participants did not show any in-group favoritism in their own ratings, but they expected their fellow students to be in-group biased. The participants agreed on the descriptive ratings of both groups. The results demonstrate that shared reality influences intergroup ratings, despite differences in evaluations.

  • 3.
    Dimdins, Girts
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Montgomery, Henry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Effects of framing on perceptions of economic freedom, economic equality, and social justice.2006In: Viability and Desirability of Global Democracy., 2006Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The aim of the study was to examine peoples’ perceptions of the economic dimension of the dilemma between individual freedom and collective equality in society. Our previous research in the frameworks of the project had suggested that the economic aspect—rather than political freedom and equality—elicit the strongest differences in people’s opinions. A tax reform proposed by a number of conservative parties in Sweden served as a background of the study. The proposed reform was aimed at improving the state budget by increasing the incentives for working and decreasing the incentives of receiving social benefits from the state. Seventy-two Stockholm University undergraduates participated in the study. Each participant read descriptions of several possible tax plans in an imaginary society. When presenting the plans, we manipulated several factors. First, the plans were formulated in a way that the tax reform would lead either to increase of income for working people (reward), or a decrease of income for those receiving benefits for the state (penalty). Second, the plans would either affect everyone (meritocratic), or would be aimed at benefiting the low-income groups in society (egalitarian). In addition, the plans were presented either as a change to an existing tax system, or as a new tax system to be introduced. The difference in tax size between workers and social benefit receivers was constant (in favor of workers) in all formulations. The participants evaluated the tax plans according to three criteria—how much each plan would contribute to social justice, to economic freedom, and to economic equality in the society.

    The wording of the tax plans mattered most for evaluations of equality; these evaluations also elicited strongest differences between liberal and conservative respondents. The wording mattered least for evaluations of social justice, and had moderate effects on evaluations of freedom. The results showed that different factors influenced judgments of economic freedom and equality. For example, whether plans were worded as reward or penalty had a stronger influence on evaluations of freedom than on evaluations of equality. On the other hand, meritocratic vs. egalitarian formulation had a much stronger effect on evaluations of equality than on evaluations of freedom. The results show that, although freedom and equality are often depicted as opposing ends of the same continuum, people think about different things when evaluating—at least in economic terms—these two concepts. This, in turn, suggests that by careful framing of social issues it may be possible to avoid juxtaposition of values of freedom and democracy, and to reduce controversy in society.

  • 4.
    Dimdins, Girts
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Montgomery, Henry
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Austers, Ivars
    Cognition and Neurosciences: Differentiating explanations of attitude-consistent behavior: The role of perspectives and mode of perspective taking.2005In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, Vol. 46, no 2, p. 97-106Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    We examined whether participants could differentiate between explanations of attitude-consistent behavior related to EU membership given from two perspectives (EU supporter and EU opponent) by means of three perspective taking modes (the explainer's own perspective, imagined in-group members' perspective, and imagined out-group members' perspective). Participants were presented with explanations provided from different perspectives and perspective taking modes, and they were asked to judge the extent to which they agreed with each explanation, to guess the attitude of the provider of each explanation, and to rate the quality of each explanation in various respects. Participants could not differentiate between explanations given by in-group members and out-group members who imagined the same perspective. They responded more favorably to explanations given from own perspective than from the imagined perspectives. The results suggest that there exists a shared understanding about how both sides should explain attitude-consistent behavior, but this understanding is measurably different from the actual explanations.

  • 5.
    Montgomery, Henry
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Dimdins, Girts
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Facets of value conflicts in two cultures: Rankings, preferences and trade-off judgments of freedom and equality in Sweden and USA.2006In: SPSP meeting: Palm Springs, January, 2006., 2006Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Abstract [en]

    A questionnaire study compared Swedish and American attitudes towards freedom and equality and the potential trade-off between these two values. The participants were first-year students from Stockholm University (N=54) and Stanford University (N=92). When participants simply rank-ordered a number of values related to freedom and equality no significant between-group differences in orderings were observed. However, when participants were asked to indicate their willingness to see increased freedom in their society at the expense of reducing equality, and vice versa, clear between-group differences were apparent. Both in direct measures regarding this tradeoff and in evaluation of public policy options, Swedish participants generally proved more willing than Americans to increase freedom at the expense of equality whereas the American participants proved more willing to increase equality at the expense of freedom. This result implies that answers to trade-off questions may reflect the perceived fulfillment of values in the society (more freedom in USA, more equality in Sweden), which is not shown by importance ratings. The results are discussed in the context of previous cross-cultural studies comparing political value preferences in both countries.

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