Why almost all psychologists are ideologically liberal, and why it matters

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When New York University psychologist Jonathan Haidt asked about a thousand attendees at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2011 to identify their political views with a show of hands, only three hands went up for “conservative or on the right.” Separately, a survey of more than 500 social and personality psychologists published in 2012 found that only 6 percent identified as conservative overall.

Psychologists, it appears, tend to fall on the liberal end of the political spectrum. Social psychology’s left tilt has been widely discussed, yet it has been difficult to measure how political leanings influence the work that the field produces. But a new study has tried to quantify just that, and it found that social psychologists assess conservatives differently than liberals.

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[P]articipants [were asked] to rate whether a study’s findings were equally discussed in relation to liberals and conservatives, or instead were pinned on one group over the other. Sure enough, the abstracts more often explained their findings in terms of conservative ideas rather than liberal ones, and conservatives were described more negatively in the eyes of the raters.

The fact that researchers are engaging in self-reflection on this issue could be a reason for optimism. “Psychology as a field has problems, but it is not in denial. It is working on them,” Haidt said.

Read full, original post: Psychologists Looked In The Mirror … And Saw A Bunch Of Liberals

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