Date of Award


Document Type


First Advisor

Scott Ross

Second Advisor

Kevin Moore

Third Advisor

Salil Benegal


The current research focuses on the relationships between individual differences and political preferences, particularly conservatism as measured by the Social and Economic Conservatism Scale (Everett, 2013). I conducted a survey using the crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk that assessed individuals in terms of demographics, the Big Five Aspect Scales, Moral Foundations, Social Dominance Orientation, Right Wing Authoritarianism, and opinions about the 2016 presidential candidates (Hillary Clinton & Donald Trump). Through hierarchical multiple regression, I was able to find correlations among openness to experience (-) and conscientiousness (+) with conservatism in terms of the Big Five. I found that binding moral foundations (authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty, purity/sanctity) predicted conservatism, while individualizing moral foundations (harm/care, fairness/reciprocity) were negatively correlated. RWA and SDO were among the strongest predictors of conservatism. Finally, positive perceptions of Donald Trump predicted conservatism at the end of the HMR. Overall, a detailed profile of conservative individuals emerged, allowing a glimpse into the fundamental differences between conservatives and liberals.


Honor Scholar Thesis