A Life History Framework Advances the Understanding of Intentions for Police Cooperation

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Recent policing incidents have increased attention to relationships between community members and police. Academic research on attitudes toward police predominantly follows Tyler’s process-based model of policing; examining the influence of sociodemographic factors on perceptions of procedural justice, whether or not police are fair and trustworthy in their interaction with community members. We developed additional domains of attitudes toward police using evolutionary life history theory (LHT) as a basis for understanding relations with authority figures. We focus on the social roles of police officers in their communities: maintenance of the stability of society, the benefits in social status derived from the role of police officer, and the use of institutional power to exploit community residents and gain resources illicitly. Our new domains demonstrated explanatory power beyond perceptions of procedural justice, demographic factors, and a general life history speed indicator, in both undergraduate (N = 581) and Internet- recruited German (N = 471) samples.

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