Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Clinical Psychology, PhD



Faculty Advisor

Psychology Department


This study explored the relationships among political ideologies, masculinity ideologies, and shame ideologies within three online communities. Three different ideological communities, all on Reddit (a discussion-based social news website), were chosen based on previous research suggesting they differ in terms of their conceptualizations of gender and support for or rejection of feminism: r/TheRedPill, r/MensRights, and r/MensLib. This study uses a framework for understanding Ideologies as Complex Adaptive Systems (ICAS) as articulated by Thagard (2017), which uses Cognitive and Affective Maps (CAMs) as its primary tool of analysis. Using the postings on the Reddit sites as our raw data, we created CAMs to assist in comparing the conceptual and affective qualities of each community. We conducted the study in three phases: in Phase One, we used Consensual Qualitative Research (CQR) methods and correlational analyses to create a set of general ideological CAMs for each community. We also constructed a set of CAMs depicting whom each group views as ingroups and outgroups in their creation of social identities. In Phase Two, we created a set of CAMs for each community’s dominant conception of gender. In Phase Three, we constructed a set of CAMs depicting each community’s relationship with the ideas of shame and injustice. The discussion section is organized into five main chapters. The first chapter contains reflections on the process of using CAMs, the next chapter is on the study’s limitations and future directions, and the final three are on the study findings’ empirical, theoretical, and clinical implications. The empirical implications of the study contribute to the following areas of research: the role of shame in ideology, the political construction of victimhood, and Ambivalent Sexism. In the theoretical implications chapter, I discuss the study’s potential contributions to theory development in the CAMs methodology. The final chapter offers reflections on the study's clinical implications, especially related to gender identity development, sexual violence, and the role of ideology in emotion regulation.

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Psychology Commons