Graduation Date

Summer 2021

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Amber Gaffney

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Gregg Gold

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Christopher Aberson

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



The current research is closely bound to a number of critical social issues that are becoming increasingly prevalent, such as homegrown terrorism enacted by Right wing extremist groups in the United States, through its focus on the development of attitudes toward moderate and extremist activism. This study examines the impact of an extremist, ingroup faction by manipulating identity threat and minority or majority influence. The current research examined these effects by measuring evaluations of moderate and extremist activist groups among members of the Democratic Party in the United States (N = 391) who were recruited from MTurk. Participants were randomly assigned to evaluate one of two types of activist groups as well as randomly assigned to perceive high or low levels of identity threat and to perceive minority or majority support for the activist group they were evaluating. Based on previous literature regarding extremism, minority influence, and identity threat, it was hypothesized that when identity threat was high, evaluation of activist groups would be more positive than when identity threat was low. Additionally, it was hypothesized that evaluation of activist groups would be more positive when under minority influence as well as that activist group evaluation would be more positive in the moderate activism condition than in the extremist activist condition. Lastly, it was hypothesized that while participants assigned to the minority and extremist activism condition would typically report more negative attitudes toward the activist group under low identity threat, under high identity threat participants in the minority and extremist activist condition would report more positive attitudes toward the activist group. The hypotheses were partially supported, such that those experiencing high identity threat evaluated the extremist activist group more favorably than those in the low identity threat condition. This finding and the lack of other predicted findings will be discussed in terms of theoretical and methodological implications.

Citation Style