Implicit attitudes toward an authoritarian regime

Rory Truex, Daniel L. Tavana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Existing research on public opinion under authoritarianism focuses on the deliberative half of cognition. Yet in psychology, implicit attitudes and subconscious associations are often viewed as foundational, the basis for explicit attitudes and behavior. This article adapts the well-known Implicit Association Test to study Egyptian citizens’ attitudes toward President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Roughly 58% of respondents hold positive implicit attitudes toward Sisi. The data also allow for an investigation of attitude dissociation, whereby individuals hold distinct implicit and explicit attitudes toward a target object. Government employees and Coptic Christians are more likely to hold positive explicit attitudes toward Sisi but negative or neutral implicit attitudes. The correlation between explicit and implicit attitudes toward Sisi is weaker than found in comparable studies of democratic leaders, which provides evidence that self-presentational concerns are at work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1014-1027
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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