HOPE IN ENTITATIVITY? THE COGNITIVE PREDICTORS OF EXPECTATIONS OF POLES ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES OF ACCESSION TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
The paper concerns the cognitive predictors of the young Poles' positive expectations about Poland's accession to the European Union. The following cognitive variables were taken under consideration in the study: perception of entitativity of the EU, perception of the EU cooperativeness related to Poland, perception of the relationship between the EU and the USA, interpersonal trust (as individual characteristic). The data were collected in April 2004, two weeks before Poland's formal accession to the EU. Participants were students of Warsaw University, Economic Academy and Agricultural Academy (n=168). In four experimental groups the level of entitativity of the EU was manipulated (by verbal instruction or by a map of the EU presentation); there was no manipulation in control group. Beside weak results of manipulation (there was no replication of effects received in American studies), it appeared that the perception of the EU's cooperativeness was the best predictor of the level of hope (positive expectations) toward the accession. The perceived entitativity of the EU and the level of interpersonal trust were also significant (and positive) predictors of hope. The results let us to conclude that also the perception of the relationship between two main international actors (the EU and the USA) carry some weight for Poles' opinions about the accession. It seems that the time of conducting the study could be itself a kind of manipulation - the knowledge about the EU was activated by promotion actions and/ or the EU could be already seen as the 'own group'.The positive dependence between perceived entitativity of the EU and expectations toward accession seems the logical effect of this perception. The role of interpersonal trust for these expectations seems interesting - a personal characteristic can modify how the international policy is perceived. Finally the perceived the EU - USA relations can be considered from both, historical (Poland in Europe, Polish immigrants in America) and psychological (Heider's balance theory) perspective.
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