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Citizen Vain? Exposure to the UK Citizenship Test Predicts Milder Demands from Immigrants Across the Political Spectrum

Van Tilburg, Wijnand and Saadi, Amina and Mahadevan, Nikhila (2020) 'Citizen Vain? Exposure to the UK Citizenship Test Predicts Milder Demands from Immigrants Across the Political Spectrum.' British Journal of Social Psychology. ISSN 0144-6665

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Abstract

Passing the Life in the UK Test is an essential requirement for those who seek UK citizenship. This citizenship test, attempted around 150,000 times per year, has incurred criticism for its content and difficulty, and for its role in causing psychological distress. We examined, among a representative adult UK population, people’s reactions to this important instrument. Results showed that two-thirds (66.4%) of UK residents, most of whom held citizenship, failed their own countries citizenship test. Participants on the right (vs. left) of the political and ideological spectrum were more likely to overestimate their own performance and demand higher performance from immigrants than left-leaning voters, even though these voters’ actual performance did not differ. Strikingly, completing the Life in the UK Test caused participants to subsequently endorse milder test requirements; a finding that generalized well across political ideology and voter categories. Initial overconfidence in one’s own test performance mediated this change in attitudes. Results suggest that support for improving the Life in the UK Test can be garnered across the political spectrum by confronting people with the content of this life-changing tool.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: immigration, citizenship, political ideology life in the UK test, life in the UK test
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2020 16:56
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2021 10:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29302

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