Identity fusion and support for political authoritarianism: Lessons from the U.S. insurrection of 2021

Francois Alexi Martel, Philip Moniz, Ashwini Ashokkumar, William B. Swann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The recent surge in political authoritarianism has triggered interest in the factors that regulate its rise and fall. We explored these phenomena in the time around the January 6, 2021, insurrection in the United States. Identity fusion (synergistic union) with Trump predicted the perception that Democrats represented an existential threat to the American way of life; higher perceived threat, in turn, predicted endorsement of authoritarian actions against Democrats. Biden supporters did not display analogous effects. Among Trump supporters and, to a lesser extent, Biden supporters, fusion with the United States negatively predicted both the perception that out-party members represented an existential threat and endorsement of authoritarian actions against them. These findings provide unique insight into the role of identity in the nation's closest brush with authoritarian takeover in over a century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPolitical Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • authoritarianism
  • group processes
  • identity
  • identity fusion

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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