Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Robert Duval

Committee Co-Chair

Neil Berch

Committee Member

Erin Cassese

Committee Member

Amy Gentzler

Committee Member

Susan Hunter


This study argues that value types defined by Shalom Schwartz should relate to social capital and political sophistication in particular ways. Individual value types that emphasize "other-orientation" should positively relate to social capital characteristics that increase information flows which in turn will relate to increased political sophistication. On the other hand, it is expected that individual value types that emphasize "self-orientation" will positively relate to social capital characteristics that decrease information flows which in turn would correlate to decreased political sophistication. Using post-materialism as a theoretical basis and a survey that measures political knowledge and ideology, value orientation, social network characteristics, and demographics (PVSN), this study attempts to quantify and explain this relationship and develop a preliminary regression model that may be able to predict much of the variance in political sophistication. This study finds that particular social capital characteristics correlate with higher political sophistication and those specific characteristics are in general related to other-oriented, self-transcendence values such as universalism and benevolence. Alternatively, as expected, the study finds that social capital characteristics that correlate with lower political sophistication tend to be associated with values that are self-oriented or self-enhancing. Finally, the study shows that building a regression model that predicts a good deal of the variance in political sophistication using demographics, political interest, and social capital characteristics is indeed feasible.