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Although we might be becoming more prejudiced towards people from other races, we do seem to have become more tolerant on matters of sexuality. The survey has also regularly asked people about their attitudes to sexual relations between two adults of the same sex. In many cases where we see overall attitudes changing quickly, it is likely that changes in attitudes between birth cohorts are important.

Changes between birth cohorts can produce rapid changes in overall attitudes because people often form their basic attitudes when they are young and then don't change them much with age. The overall pattern of change in the population is then due to older cohorts dying out and being replaced by younger cohorts who, in this case, have more open attitudes to issues concerning sexuality. The figure below shows the variation over time in the proportion of people reporting that homosexuality is wrong by decade of birth.

The figure shows that there are important differences in attitudes between cohorts with younger cohorts showing more tolerant attitudes than older cohorts. For all cohorts, the figure also shows that the proportion of respondents reporting that homosexuality is wrong has fallen over time within each cohort. While surveys with a repeated cross-sectional design, like the British Social Attitudes Survey, are very useful for studying overall levels of change, longitudinal surveys which follow the same people over time are needed to tell us more about how overall trends are produced.

They see a mismatch between the identity conferred by their social backgrounds and the identity they associate with being a student at an elite university. This is evident from ethnographic research. It's not what her daughter should be doing so I don't really mention it when I go home.

Indeed, there was evidence of difficulty in adjusting to the new environment, both socially and academically. Perceptions of these universities as elitist are likely to deter such students from applying.

It’s NOT the economy, stupid: Brexit as a story of personal values

Evidence of this deterrence comes from research conducted by Nieuwenhuis, Easterbrook, and Manstead Both universities were located in the same geographical region, not far from the schools where the participants were recruited. The questions put to respondents measured their perceptions of identity compatibility e. Measures of parental education and academic achievement in previous examinations were taken, as well as the three universities to which they would most like to apply, which were scored in accordance with a published national league table.

In both studies, it was found that relatively disadvantaged students whose parents had low levels of educational attainment scored lower on identity compatibility and that low scores on identity compatibility were associated with lower anticipated acceptance at the SU Study 1 or at the HSU Study 2. These anticipated acceptance scores, in turn, predicted the type of university to which participants wanted to apply, with those who anticipated feeling accepted at more selective universities being more likely to apply to higher status universities.

All of these relations were significant while controlling for academic achievement.

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This helps to explain why highly able students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to settle for less prestigious universities. Once there, they are confronted with the same issues of fit. The majority of the respondents were deans. They were asked to respond to items expressing interdependent e. As Stephens and her colleagues have shown elsewhere e.

This applies both to gaining entry to the workplace, by negotiating the application and selection process Rivera, , and if successful to the daily interactions between employees in the workplace. The work reviewed here provides the basis for an integrative model of how social class affects thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.

These differences in income and wealth are associated with differences in social capital, in the form of friendship networks, and cultural capital, in the form of tacit knowledge about how systems work, that have a profound effect on the ways in which individuals who grow up in these different contexts construe themselves and their social environments.

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Integrative model of how differences in material conditions generate social class differences and differences in social cognition, emotion, and behaviour. Although there is good evidence for many of the proposed relations depicted in the model, there is relatively little hard evidence concerning the moderating roles of ideology and economic inequality and threat. There is evidence that economic threat is associated with prejudice e. Likewise, there is evidence of the moderating impact of ideology on the translation from social class to social cognition and behaviour e.

A further point worth making is that much of the work on which this integrative model is based was conducted in the United States, which raises the question of the extent to which it is applicable to other contexts. There are some differences between the United States and other Western, industrialized countries that are relevant to the model. At the same time, the perceived degree of social mobility is greater in the United States than in other countries Isaacs, — although the reality is that social mobility is lower in the United States and indeed in the United Kingdom; see Social Mobility Commission, than in many other industrialized counties Isaacs, These differences in economic inequality and ideology mean that the moderating roles played by these factors may vary from one country to another.

Although there seems to be no good reason to question the generalizability of the other relations posited in the model, there is an obvious need to expand the research base on which the model is founded. It is therefore interesting that when people are asked about social inequality, they generally say that they are in favour of greater equality.

Norton and Ariely asked a nationally representative sample of more than 5, Americans to estimate the then current wealth distribution in the United States and also to express their preferences for how wealth should be distributed. This also held for wealthy respondents and Republican voters — albeit to a lesser extent than their poorer and Democrat counterparts. Similar conclusions were reached in a study of American adolescents conducted by Flanagan and Kornbluh , where participants expressed a strong preference for a much more egalitarian society than the degree of stratification they perceived to exist in the United States.

Given the evidence that citizens consistently express a preference for less wealth and income inequality than what currently prevails in many societies, it is worth considering why there is not greater support for redistributive policies. It is known that one factor that weakens support for such policies is a belief in social mobility. This suggests that people's attitudes to income inequality — and therefore their support for steps to reduce it — are shaped by their perceptions that 1 higher incomes are possible to achieve, at least for their children, and 2 when these higher incomes are achieved, they are deserved.

It follows that any intervention that reduces the tendency to overestimate income mobility should increase support for redistributive policies. Another factor that helps to account for lack of support for redistribution is people's perceptions of their own social standing or rank. So one's perception of one's own relative social rank influences support for redistribution.

This points to the importance of social comparisons and suggests that those who compare themselves with others who have a lower social standing are less likely to be supportive of redistribution. In three studies, these researchers show that exposing American participants to information about the rising economic inequality, compared to control information, led to stronger perceptions that economic success is due to structural factors rather than individual effort.

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In the largest of the three studies, involving a representative sample of American adults, it was also found that information about rising inequality led to greater endorsement of policies that could be implemented by government and by business to reduce inequality. This research shows that, under the right conditions, even those living in a society that is traditionally opposed to government intervention would support government policies to reduce inequality.

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Also relevant to the likelihood of people taking social action on this issue is how descriptions of inequality are framed. There is solid evidence that the material circumstances in which people develop and live their lives have a profound influence on the ways in which they construe themselves and their social environments. At a time when economic inequality is increasing in many countries, this lack of mobility puts a strain on social cohesion.

Most people believe that economic inequality is undesirable and, when presented with the evidence of growing inequality, say that they would support government policies designed to reduce it. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. The British Journal of Social Psychology. Br J Soc Psychol. Published online Feb Antony S. Manstead 1. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Manstead, Email: ku. Corresponding author. Received Oct 2; Revised Feb 5.


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This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Drawing on recent research on the psychology of social class, I argue that the material conditions in which people grow up and live have a lasting impact on their personal and social identities and that this influences both the way they think and feel about their social environment and key aspects of their social behaviour.

Background We are all middle class now. Margaret Thatcher, former Conservative Prime Minister, A note on terminology In what follows, I will refer to a set of concepts that are related but by no means interchangeable. Socioeconomic status and identity Social psychological analyses of identity have traditionally not paid much attention to social class or SES as a component of identity.

Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Figure 2. Figure 3. Towards an integrative model The work reviewed here provides the basis for an integrative model of how social class affects thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. Figure 4. Conclusion There is solid evidence that the material circumstances in which people develop and live their lives have a profound influence on the ways in which they construe themselves and their social environments. References Adler N. Relationship of subjective and objective social status with psychological and physiological functioning: Preliminary data in healthy, White women.

Health Psychology , 19 , — The authoritarian personality. Inequality and happiness: Are Europeans and Americans different? Journal of Public Economics , 88 , — Advances in Experimental Social Psychology , 30 , 47— The role of social class in the formation of identity: A study of public and elite private college students. Journal of Social Psychology , , — Journal of Social Issues , 73 , — The relationship between ethnic threat and economic insecurity in times of economic crisis: Analysis of European Social Survey data.

Migration Studies , 2 , — Reproduction in education, society and culture 2nd ed.

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London, UK: Sage. Do the disadvantaged legitimize the social system? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , , — Psychological defensiveness as a mechanism explaining the relationship between low socioeconomic status and religiosity. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion , 22 , — People both high and low on religious fundamentalism are prejudiced toward dissimilar groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 1 , 76— Subjective status shapes political preferences. Psychological Science , 26 , 15— Is higher inequality less legitimate?

Michael Gove's values and British social attitudes

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