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Title: Unpacking the adaptive significance of the political spectrum : do liberal and conservative ideological differences reflect alternative strategies for obtaining reciprocity?
Author: Mansell, Jordan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6493 7847
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2017
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In the following thesis I examine the possible evolutionary significance of behavioural differences associated with liberal and conservative ideological orientations. In investigating the evolutionary significance of these two orientations I have two primary research questions. First, how do liberal and conservative oriented individuals differ in their responses to the same socio-environmental stimuli? Second, do differences in their responses to socio-environmental stimuli represent alternative behavioural strategies for social interaction, specifically adaptive strategies to maximize returns from social interactions? To answer these research questions I evaluate how trust and cooperation among liberal and conservative oriented individuals are affected by conditions of social change and inequality. Previous research finds that attitudes and behaviours consistent with the tolerance or intolerance of social change and inequality are strong predictors of ideological orientation across a liberal-conservative scale. Based on a synthesis of behavioural research I construct two theoretical frameworks to account for the adaptive utility associated with a sensitivity to social change and inequality; 1) The Group Reciprocity Hypothesis, and 2) The Social Risk Hypothesis. I test these frameworks using an experimental research design. I predict that, if liberal and conservative orientations are reflective of alternative adaptive strategies to maximize returns from social interaction, then the willingness of liberal and conservative individuals to participate in a social interaction should be differentially affected by conditions related to social change and inequality.
Supervisor: Duch, Raymond ; Johnson, Dominic Sponsor: Canadian National Scholarship
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science ; Social Behaviour ; Evolutionary Psychology ; Political Ideology ; Experimental Research ; Cooperation