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The role of perceived collective anger and fear on policy support in response to terrorist threat

Jaeshin Kim, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The current research investigates how the perceived emotional responses of a majority of Americans to 9/11 (i.e., collective anger and fear) affect individuals’ support for governmental policies, in particular, military intervention, anti-immigration policy, and restricting civil liberties. Study 1 found that perceived collective anger was associated with support for military intervention and anti-immigration policy, and that those effects of perceived collective anger on policy support were significantly driven by individuals’ own anger. Study 2 showed that experimentally manipulated collective anger (i.e., exposure to the majority’s anger relative to the minority’s anger) had marginal effects on support for anti-immigration policy and restricting civil liberties, and individuals’ own anger mediated the marginal effect of collective anger on support for restricting civil liberties. Participants exposed to either the majority’s or minority’s fear supported anti-immigration policy and restricting civil liberties as strongly as did those exposed to the majority’s anger. Implications and limitations of these findings were discussed.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychology

Recommended Citation

Kim, Jaeshin, "The role of perceived collective anger and fear on policy support in response to terrorist threat" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3397719.