Changing attitudes toward prison reform: Effects of similarity to prisoners on attraction and rejection.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Human-rights organizations and prisoner advocacy groups try to create positive attitudes toward liberal prison reform by emphasizing similarities between the public and prisoners. Theories of similarity and attraction, however, suggest that this strategy can backfire. Although it commonly increases liking, similarity can increase rejection when the similar other is stigmatized. An experimen1 tested the efficacy of appeals to similarity in changing prison reform attitudes. Republicans and Democrats listed aspects of themselves that made them similar to or different from prisoners, and then they completed a measure of prison reform attitudes (Silvia, 2003). Emphasizing similarity between the participant and prisoners did not always cause positive attitudes. After focusing on similarity to prisoners, Democrats reported more liberal prison reform attitudes, and Republicans reported more punitive attitudes. Implications for changing attitudes toward prison reform are discussed.

Additional Information

Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 35, 248-258
Language: English
Date: 2005
Attitudes, Prison reform

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