What difference is there between a group of people who read Franz Kafka, another who played with a manipulated deck of cards in which diamonds are red and hearts are black, and another who ultimately received neither of these stimuli?
The degree of uncertainty and, apparently, by extension, its tendency to become more nationalistic, according to a study by psychologists Travis Proulx and Daniel Randles .
Rejection of uncertainty
To assess how much uncertainty (a surreal story and some manipulated letters) made people tend to seek order, they asked the three groups to look for patterns in a succession of random letters .
As the journalist Marta García Aller explains in her book Lo unpredictable. Everything that technology wants and cannot control :
Those who had read the surrealist story, as well as those who received manipulated letters, had a greater need for order and found patterns even where there were none, like someone who sees the Virgin’s face in a damp stain on the wall.
This tendency to seek order seems to be able to be extrapolated to politics as well : an ideological stance would be sought, consequently, that did not entail a great deal of ambiguity, as suggested in another experiment to which political ideology was asked:
And those who had been exposed to greater ambiguity expressed nationalist ideas more fervently. It did not matter the ideology of each of the subjects, that is, it did not matter if they were left or right. These experiments concluded that, in situations of stress and uncertainty, we are more likely to polarize our lives.