Thank you for visiting this site dedicated to the study of Political Psychology.
I received a D. Phil in Psychology from the University of Essex (U. K.); professionally, I work as a Political Psychology advisor for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and I own a political consultancy firm that specialises in political psychology, behavioural insights, electoral strategies and political communication.
My research interests are both in the Social Psychology of Politics and Political Behaviour. I am particularly interested in understanding the psychological processes by which people develop, adhere, and adjust their political loyalties.
In particular, I concentrate on how existential threats interact with epistemic needs for closure by activating needs for consensus and agreement to, in turn, punish deviants from a perceived generalised political agreement.
In my academic research, using Terror Management Theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski and Solomon, 1986)–specifically the manipulation known as Mortality Salience (MS)–, I looked at the way in which reminders of mortality mediate changes in political preferences, patterns of voting behaviour, and adherences to political parties.
My doctoral research assesses the relationship between needs for cognitive closure (NFC; Kruglanski, Webster, & Klem, 1993) and evaluations of political ideology changes, as a function of mortality salience (MS).
Based on terror management theory (Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) and previous research (e.g. Jost et al., 2003), I hypothesized that abstract reminders of death would activate the facet of NFC that seeks group consensus and stability (as opposed to deviation and persuasion). Following an MS or control induction, 156 participants evaluated politicians who switched political ideologies (moved from the left to the right). In line with recent research (Fu et al., 2007), results indicate that MS induced people high in NFC to express greater support for politicians seeking consensus in the political centre, compared to politicians endorsing liberal or conservative ideologies, an effect consistent with research linking NFC to desires for group centrism and collective closure.
A second study (N= 170) clarified this issue further with participants evaluating political parties (rather than individual politicians) depicted as moving from their traditional left/ right positions toward the political centre in one condition, or parties that remained true to their traditional ideologies in a second condition. Results revealed that participants high in NFC exposed to MS expressed significantly higher levels of support for parties moving from the extreme right to the centre, than for parties moving from the extreme left to the centre.
A third study (N=276) explored how the activation of specific needs for cognitive closure via MS would result in an increased support for a centrist political party described as uniform in thought and enjoying an internal (vs. split) mandate for the party’s manifesto. The results further indicate that reminders of mortality amplify demands for consensus and clarity more than signalling a demand for ideological clarity.
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