Van Prooijen, J.-W., Krouwel, A. P. M., Boiten, M., & Eendebak, L. (2015). Fear among the extremes: How political ideology predicts negative emotions and outgroup derogation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 485-497


The ‘rigidity of the right’ hypothesis predicts that particularly the political right experiences fear and derogates outgroups. We propose that above and beyond that, the political extremes (at both sides of the spectrum) are more likely to display these responses than political moderates. Results of a large-scale sample reveal the predicted quadratic term on socio-economic fear. Moreover, although the political right is more likely to derogate the specific category of immigrants, we find a quadratic effect on derogation of a broad range of societal categories. Both extremes also experience stronger negative emotions about politics than politically moderate respondents. Finally, the quadratic effects on derogation of societal groups, and negative political emotions, were mediated by socio-economic fear, particularly among left- and right-wing extremists. It is concluded that negative emotions and outgroup derogation flourish among the extremes.