Following the previous post which raised the question, whether conservatives tend less to come to deliberative events, Marina Lindell, from Abo academy Finland, sent me a paper of her collogues at Abo academy, that further looked at the data, and asked the above question (Thanks Marina 🙂 ). Karjalainen and Rapeli (2014), had searched the data for parameters that relates to attrition from recruitment and participating in the deliberative experiment. They found that the most significant factor is age population, where people in their 30s-50s tended to came less. They had also found out that people that had anti-immigration attitude, tended to slightly come less. Further they had found that peopel with pro-immigration attitude, but that expressed that they do not like to confront others with their ideas, also participated less.
So why do these populations tended to participate less?
I’ll suggest that the basic mechanism is mind-closure.
Mind-closure can results from at least two factors. The first is time-pressure (De Grada 1999), and the other is the activation of FFFF (Freeze, Flight, Fight, Fright) decision making system in the brain. Both of these mechanisms reduce the need for exploration, and elevate the need for mind-closure. When people are nearing a dead-line, or when they perceive a threat, they need to focus on solutions very quickly and avoid “consultation”.
I suggest that this is may be the common features for all the above populations. Conservatives tend to perceive strangers as a threat, more than liberals (Schreiber et al 2013), thus causing the FFFF system to be more active. People in their 30s to 50s, are more pressured and so they will have more “time-pressured” responses that will cause them to less want to consult.
What do you think? Does mind-closure, caused out of feeling of threat or time pressure, may be the main cause for participation-avoidance? If so, what can be done to elevate the participation of such populations?
Karjalainen, M., & Rapeli, L. (2014). Who will not deliberate? Attrition in a multi-stage citizen deliberation experiment . Quality & Quantity .
Schreiber, D., Fonzo, G., Simmons, A. N., Dawes, C. T., Flagan, T., Fowler, J. H., & Paulus, M. P. (2013). Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans. PloS one, 8(2), e52970.