Anger and Authoritarianism Mediate the Effects of Fear on Support for the Far Right—What Vasilopoulos et al. (2019) Really Found

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In an important study of popular support for the National Front following the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in France, Vasilopoulos, Marcus, Valentino, and Foucault (2019) argue that (1) anger—rather than fear—explains support for the Far Right and (2) the effect of fear on support for the Far Right is negative, rather than positive, as previous work (including my own) would suggest. However, these conclusions are based on statistical models that adjust for anger (but no other emotional variables) when investigating the effects of fear, and the results indicate the presence of a suppression effect. Following a collegial exchange with the authors, I share evidence (which they provided) that (1) the effect of fear on support for the Far Right is in fact positive and significant (rather than negative) and (2) anger and authoritarianism both mediate the effect of fear on support for the Far Right. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-711
Number of pages7
JournalPolitical Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2019



  • anger
  • authoritarianism
  • emotion
  • fear
  • right-wing extremism
  • terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science and International Relations

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