An Abstract Mind is a Principled One: Abstract Mindset Increases Consistency in Responses to Political Attitude Scales
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Past literature suggested that not everyone is politically sophisticated. In the current research, it is proposed that an experimental manipulation of abstract mindset would decrease variation in responses to political attitude scales and render individuals more internally consistent in their political attitudes. Three hypotheses are proposed: (1) Abstract mindset would lower within-subject standard deviations (SDs) and increase Cronbach's alphas in responses to political attitude scales; (2) decrease in SDs could not be attributed to a response bias; and (3) abstract mindset would lower SDs even after controlling for differences in mean scores on those scales. In seven experiments, five different paradigms were used to manipulate abstractness and four different political scales were used as dependent measures on samples from two distinct cultures (US and Turkey). Analyses of individual studies and an aggregate analysis of combined data supported all hypotheses and showed that abstract mindset decreases SDs and increases Cronbach's alpha scores in self-reported political attitudes. Results suggest that abstract mindset enhances apparent political sophistication by highlighting core political beliefs behind different attitudinal statements. Implications for construal level theory and political sophistication research are discussed.