Individuals with a high need for cognitive closure, or a preference for knowledge that is certain and clear, tend to adopt conservative system-justifying ideologies. Nevertheless, few studies have examined the intervening orientations responsible for this relationship. While conservatism is anchored in values that both support tradition and oppose equality, we suggest that the need for closure is linked primarily with the former. In three studies, we found (a) that the need for closure is more strongly related to support for tradition than opposition to equality, and (b) that the indirect effect of the need for closure on conservatism is stronger via the former than the latter. By clarifying the links between the need for closure and multiple antecedents of ideology, these findings provide new insight into the psychological foundations of political belief by suggesting that the need for closure is not equally relevant to all aspects of system justification.
- epistemic motivation
- system justification