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Benita Stiles-Smith


Kirton's adaption-innovation theory suggests adaptors and innovators have different approaches to decision-making. The relationship between thinking styles in conjunction with decriminalization has not been investigated thoroughly, and this study addressed the relationship based on thinking styles and 6 demographics (race, age, gender, religion, education, and geographical location). The main research question examined whether innovators and adaptors have different attitudes about decriminalization. The hypotheses were tested with: (a) t tests to compare responses, (b) analysis of variance for comparing multiple groups and investigating moderator effects, and (c) correlation tests to determine whether Kirton's adaption-innovation inventory scores are associated with decriminalization attitudes. A correlational research design and 4 research questions were used to understand the relationships utilizing 123 participants. Results found that innovators are more open to the support of drug use and prostitution decriminalization while adaptors perceived danger and social threat of this step. Out of 6 variables analyzed, 3 (age, gender, and religion) significantly moderated the relationships between adaptor and innovator attitudes to decriminalization of prostitution, drug use, and drug possession. Race, education, and geographical location were found to be insignificant factors. The body of work is important, as there is a lack of empirical data on how thinking styles may affect people's perceptions of the legal status of certain activities. The findings of this study are relevant to the process of developing legal policies through legislative actions, as public opinions are considered for specific policy issues. More importantly, it highlights that people's perceptions regarding ambiguous social issues are complex and formed under the influence of numerous factors.

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