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The scale you just completed was the Dogmatism scale, developed by Bob Altemeyer (2002). This scale measures how certain people are that their beliefs are absolutely right. People who score highly on this scale are firmly convinced that they are right, and they are often able to act more decisively. People scoring high on this scale sometimes perceive people who score low on this scale as indecisive and wishy-washy. Conversely, people who score low on this scale generally doubt that there is a single absolutely correct view of the world and prefer to entertain many different possibilities. Altemeyer designed this particular scale to be "content-free," meaning that it can assess people's belief certainty independent of what their beliefs are. This contrasts with some older measures which included some statements that had some conservative content (e.g., "What the youth needs most is strict discipline, rugged determination, and the will to work and fight for family and country." and "The business man and the manufacturer are much more important to society than the artist and the professor."). Not surprisingly, those older scales always showed that conservatives were more "dogmatic,"; but that was not a fair comparison. The current scale is a great improvement over those scales.


We are interested not just in “left-right” comparisons, but in examining how subtypes of liberals and conservatives score on this scale. We expect to find higher dogmatism at both ends of the political spectrum, and we are interested in the ways that this trait may vary as a function of people’s engagement in politics. High scores on this scale may motivate people to become more active in politics (which most political scientists regard as a good thing),  or, perhaps, as people engage more fully in political action, their scores might increase, making them more hostile to the other side (which reduces the civility of political discourse).


The graph below shows your score on these scales. The scores range from 1 to 7 and higher scores indicate stronger endorsements. Your score is shown in green (1st bar) . The score of the average Liberal survey respondent is shown in blue (2nd bar) and that of the average Conservative respondent is in red (3rd bar).






If you want to learn more about this scale you can visit this the academic homepage of its author describing a paper published in the Journal of Social Psychology.

Altemeyer, B. (2002). Dogmatic behavior among students: Testing a new measure of dogmatism. Journal of Social Psychology, 142, 713-721.

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