UK Data Service data catalogue record for:

Implicit triggers, identities and attitudes to the European Union

Title details

SN: 852380
Title: Implicit triggers, identities and attitudes to the European Union
Persistent identifier: 10.5255/UKDA-SN-852380
Depositor: Stratos Patrikios, University of Strathclyde
Principal investigator(s): Cram, L, The University of Edinburgh
Mitchell , J, The University of Edinburgh
Patrikios, S, University of Strathclyde
Sponsor(s): Economic and Social Research Council
Grant number: ES/I021744/1


The citation for this study is:

Cram, L., Mitchell , J., Patrikios, S. (2018). Implicit triggers, identities and attitudes to the European Union. [data collection]. UK Data Service. SN: 852380,

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Subject Categories

Regular opinion polls


Abstract copyright data collection owner.

During April 2011 we conducted a series of online survey experiments. Our sample of 8599 included participants who identified themselves as: English, Scottish, Welsh, British or Irish. Participation in each of the five samples was determined by individual responses to a previous online questionnaire, which included a national identity/attachment question (March 2011). Based on their responses to the screening question, participants were initially assigned into one of the five identity groups/samples. During the random assignment of respondents to conditions, one of our aims was to maintain a similar demographic mix across the five national groups. The five groups were similar in terms of interest in political affairs and educational attainment. They were also similar in terms of age, with the exception of the Irish sample, which was overall younger. Respondents from each of the five groups were randomly and implicitly exposed to different versions of the same image or to a control image. Exposure to these images served as our key independent variable. By implicit exposure we mean that participants were unaware of the EU-related nature of the experiment. The trigger was either symbolic (an EU flag presented in an abstract context) or functional (an EU symbol presented on a sign during airport passport control). We also introduced a contextual variable, both images were also presented in both threat and neutral context. The responses of participants exposed to the EU trigger were compared to the responses of participants who saw similar images that had the EU trigger removed (control condition).

This project examines the implications of attachment to a political regime (in this case the EU) and exposure to implicit visual triggers for political attitudes and behaviour. As the EU is a relatively new organisation, it is likely that symbolic triggers (the EU flag) do not provoke the same deep-seated responses as a national flag might. Therefore, central to this project is the role of functional visual reminders of EU membership that EU citizens are exposed to - for example on car registration plates and driving licenses. Individuals may be unaware of their exposure to these triggers yet these triggers may shape attitudes and behaviour. A series of online survey experiments with visual cues will expose participants in England, Scotland and Wales, within the UK, and in Ireland to implicit symbolic and functional triggers related to the European Union. The experiments will also manipulate the context in which the individual is exposed to the triggers (threatening or non-threatening). The innovative methods and techniques developed in this project will produce new insights into the relationship between identity and political behaviour.

Coverage, universe, methodology

Dates of fieldwork: 01 December 2010 - 30 November 2011
Country: United Kingdom
Observation units: Individuals
Kind of data: Numeric
Method of data collection: In April 2011 YouGov conducted an online survey for us on the basis of our research design. Our sample of 8599 included individual participants who identified themselves as: English (1847), Scottish (1817), Welsh (1659), British (1747), or Irish (1529).

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Administrative and access information

Date of release:
First edition: 06 July 2018
Latest edition: 09 July 2018 (minor amendments only)
Copyright: Stratos Patrikios, University of Strathclyde
Access conditions: The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service.
Availability: UK Data Service
Contact: Stratos Patrikios, University of Strathclyde


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