Social Justice Research

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 259-279

First online:

Political Expertise, Social Worldviews, and Ideology: Translating “Competitive Jungles” and “Dangerous Worlds” into Ideological Reality

  • Christopher M. FedericoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Minnesota Email author 
  • , Corrie V. HuntAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Minnesota
  • , Damla ErgunAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Minnesota

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The psychological bases of ideology have received renewed attention amid growing political polarization. Nevertheless, little research has examined how one’s understanding of political ideas might moderate the relationship between “pre-political” psychological variables and ideology. In this paper, we fill this gap by exploring how expertise influences citizens’ ability to select ideological orientations that match their psychologically rooted worldviews. We find that expertise strengthens the relationship between two basic social worldviews—competitive-jungle beliefs and dangerous-world beliefs and left–right self-placement. Moreover, expertise strengthens these relationships by boosting the impact of the worldviews on two intervening ideological attitude systems—social dominance orientation and right-wing authoritarianism. These results go beyond previous work on expertise and ideology, suggesting that expertise strengthens not only relationships between explicitly political attitudes but also the relationship between political attitudes and their psychological antecedents.


Ideology Social dominance orientation Right-wing authoritarianism Worldviews Political expertise