Matt Motyl

Matt Motyl
University of Illinois at Chicago | UIC · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

79
Publications
97,300
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
10,863
Citations
Citations since 2017
33 Research Items
9109 Citations
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,2001,400
Introduction
I am an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Additional affiliations
June 2014 - present
University of Illinois at Chicago
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
January 2011 - present
August 2009 - present
University of Virginia
Position
  • Political Psychology Working Group
Education
August 2009 - May 2014
University of Virginia
Field of study
  • Social Psychology
August 2006 - May 2009
University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Field of study
  • Experimental Psychology
August 2003 - May 2006
Allegheny College
Field of study
  • Psychology & Women's Studies

Publications

Publications (79)
Article
Full-text available
Variation in free will and control perceptions has been examined across the development of young children, adults, and in several different countries. In two studies (three samples; total N = 492,134), older adults believed less in free will, fatalistic determinism, and perceived less control over their lives than younger adults. In Study 2 (Sample...
Article
People differ greatly in their beliefs in pure good (BPG) and beliefs in pure evil (BPE), but little is known about how people develop such beliefs. In two studies using nationwide convenience samples (Ns = 384 and 345), we used trait (Big 5; HEXACO) and moral (moral foundations theory; Kohlberg’s theory of moral development) theories to uncover po...
Article
Full-text available
Research suggests that belief in conspiracy theories (CT) stems from basic psychological mechanisms and is linked to other belief systems (e.g. religious beliefs). While previous research has extensively examined individual and contextual variables associated with CT beliefs, it has not yet investigated the role of culture. In the current research,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Research suggests that belief in conspiracy theories (CT) stems from basic psychological mechanisms and is linked to other belief systems (e.g. religious beliefs). While previous research has extensively examined individual and contextual variables associated with CT beliefs, it has not yet investigated the role of culture. In the current research,...
Article
Full-text available
The relationships between subjective status and perceived legitimacy are important for understanding the extent to which people with low status are complicit in their oppression. We use novel data from 66 samples and 30 countries (N = 12,788) and find that people with higher status see the social system as more legitimate than those with lower stat...
Chapter
Religions play a unique role in shaping modern humans’ lives. Yet, evidence shows that religion has both positive (e.g., decreased anxiety) and negative (e.g., increased parochialism) psychological consequences. In this chapter, we address the contradictions in the literature and advance our understanding of religion from a multilevel perspective i...
Article
People increasingly self-segregate into politically homogeneous communities. How they do this remains unclear. We propose that people use ambient cues correlated with political values to infer whether they would like to live in those communities. We test this hypothesis in five studies. In Studies 1 ( n = 3,543) and 2 ( n = 5,609), participants rat...
Preprint
People increasingly self-segregating into politically homogenous communities. How they do this remains unclear. We propose that people use ambient cues correlated with political values to infer whether they would like to live in those communities. We test this hypothesis in 5 studies. In Studies 1 (N = 3543) and 2 (N = 5609), participants rated com...
Poster
Full-text available
Background: Recent social-psychological research suggests that adherence to conspiracy theories (CT) stems from basic psychological mechanisms. Studies conducted so far have mainly focused on individual difference variables. Here, we wanted to test whether nation-level cultural values could predict the prevalence of CT from a situated cultural cogn...
Article
Beliefs shape how people interpret information and may impair how people engage in logical reasoning. In three studies, we show how ideological beliefs impair people’s ability to (1) recognize logical validity in arguments that oppose their political beliefs and (2) recognize the lack of logical validity in arguments that support their political be...
Preprint
Beliefs shape how people interpret information and may impair how people engage in logical reasoning. In 3 studies, we show how ideological beliefs impair people's ability to: (1) recognize logical validity in arguments that oppose their political beliefs, and, (2) recognize the lack of logical validity in arguments that support their political bel...
Article
Physical enclavement, away from out-group members, may determine when identify fusion leads to self-sacrifice. When people surround themselves with ideologically similar others, their attitudes may polarize and become moralized, leading to more violence and hostility toward people who do not share those attitudes. We discuss how this segregation ma...
Article
Full-text available
We propose that political extremists use more negative language than moderates. Previous research found that conservatives report feeling happier than liberals and yet liberals “display greater happiness” in their language than do conservatives. However, some of the previous studies relied on questionable measures of political orientation and affec...
Preprint
Full-text available
We conceptualized ideological consistency as the extent to which an individual’s attitudes toward diverse political issues are coherent among themselves from an ideological standpoint. Four studies compared the ideological consistency of self-identified liberals and conservatives. Across diverse samples, attitudes, and consistency measures, liberal...
Preprint
Full-text available
We propose that political extremists use more negative language than moderates. Previous research found that conservatives report feeling happier than liberals and yet liberals “display greater happiness” in their language than do conservatives. However, some of the previous studies relied on questionable measures of political orientation and affec...
Article
Full-text available
The target article makes the important case for making replicability mainstream. Yet, their proposal targets a symptom, rather than the underlying cause of low replication rates. We argue that psychological scientists need to devise stronger theories that are more clearly falsifiable. Without strong, falsifiable theories in the original research, a...
Article
Full-text available
In response to the replication crisis, many psychologists recommended that the field adopt several proposed reforms to research practices, such as preregistration, to make research more replicable. However, how researchers have received these proposals is not well known because, to our knowledge, no systematic investigation into use of these reform...
Preprint
In response to the “replication crisis” many psychologists recommended that the field adopt several proposed reforms to research practices (PRRPs), like preregistration, to make research more replicable. However, reception of PRRPs is not well known. We wanted to know the rationales researchers had for not using them. We analyzed data of 1,035 rese...
Article
Full-text available
Ideologically committed people are similarly motivated to avoid ideologically crosscutting information. Although some previous research has found that political conservatives may be more prone to selective exposure than liberals are, we find similar selective exposure motives on the political left and right across a variety of issues. The majority...
Preprint
Many studies demonstrate that mortality salience can increase negativity toward outgroups butfew have examined variables that mitigate this effect. The present research examined whethersubtly priming people to think of human experiences shared by people from diverse culturesincreases perceived similarity of members of different groups, which then r...
Preprint
This is a short piece comparing the moral language of people who followed Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, and John Stamos on Twitter. Upon randomly selecting 15,000-20,000 followers of each person (total N = 86,061; total words = 141,903,439), we ran simple text analyses using the moral foundations dictionary. These analyse...
Preprint
Full-text available
Political arguments may endure seemingly into perpetuity because the conflicted combatants view the issues in different ways, with one side decrying unfairness and the other side decrying attacks on the sacrosanct. We tested whether both conservatives and liberals rely on protecting the sacrosanct when justifying their attitudes on some contentious...
Preprint
Living among politically dissimilar others leads individuals to feel left out and ultimately predicts mobility away from an area. But does living in politically incongruent environment affect how we relate to other people? In two national samples (N = 12,846 and N = 6,316), the congruence between an individual’s ideological orientation and their co...
Preprint
Liberals and conservatives both express prejudice toward ideologically dissimilar others (Brandt et al., 2014). Previous work on ideological prejudice did not take advantage of evidence showing that ideology is multi-dimensional, with social and economic ideologies representing related but separable belief systems. In five studies (total N = 4912),...
Preprint
Here, we advance the ideological migration hypothesis — individuals choose to live in communities with ideologies similar to their own to satisfy their need to belong. In Study 1, incongruity between personal and community ideology predicted greater residential mobility and attraction to more ideologically-congruent communities. In Study 2, partici...
Preprint
This is our response to Uri Simonsohn, Joe Simmons, and Leif Nelson's critique of Motyl et al. (in press, JPSP).
Article
Full-text available
The scientific quality of social and personality psychology has been debated at great length in recent years. Despite research on the prevalence of Questionable Research Practices (QRPs) and the replicability of particular findings, the impact of the current discussion on research practices is unknown. The current studies examine whether and how pr...
Preprint
The scientific quality of social and personality psychology has been debated at great length in recent years. Despite research on the prevalence of questionable research practices (QRPs) and the replicability of particular findings, the impact of the current discussion on research practices is unknown. The current studies examine whether and how pr...
Preprint
Ideologically committed people are similarly motivated to avoid ideologically crosscutting information. Although some previous research has found that political conservatives may be more prone to selective exposure than liberals are, we find similar selective exposure motives on the political left and right across a variety of issues. The majority...
Preprint
People often use relationships to characterize and describe places. Yet, little research examines whether people’s relationships and relational style vary across geography. The current study examined geographic variation in adult attachment orientation in a sample of 127,070 adults from the 50 United States. The states that were highest in attachme...
Article
Full-text available
Liberals and conservatives both express prejudice toward ideologically dissimilar others (Brandt et al., 2014). Previous work on ideological prejudice did not take advantage of evidence showing that ideology is multidimensional, with social and economic ideologies representing related but separable belief systems. In 5 studies (total N = 4912), we...
Article
Full-text available
Political arguments may endure seemingly into perpetuity because the conflicted combatants view the issues in different ways, with one side decrying unfairness and the other side decrying attacks on the sacrosanct. We tested whether both conservatives and liberals rely on protecting the sacrosanct when justifying their attitudes on some contentious...
Chapter
The 2016 election has inspired millions of U.S. citizens—and struck panic in the hearts of millions more. This book explains the allure of Trump, examines how Trump’s success ties into the hopes and fears of many Americans, and calls into question the limitations of our democratic system. Across the United States and around the world, people are st...
Article
People often use relationships to characterize and describe places. Yet, little research examines whether people’s relationships and relational style vary across geography. The current study examined geographic variation in adult attachment orientation in a sample of 127,070 adults from the 50 United States. The states that were highest in attachme...
Article
Full-text available
We present the data from a crowdsourced project seeking to replicate findings in independent laboratories before (rather than after) they are published. In this Pre-Publication Independent Replication (PPIR) initiative, 25 research groups attempted to replicate 10 moral judgment effects from a single laboratory’s research pipeline of unpublished fi...
Preprint
An academic scientist’s professional success depends on publishing. Publishing norms emphasize novel, positive results. As such, disciplinary incentives encourage design, analysis, and reporting decisions that elicit positive results and ignore negative results. Prior reports demonstrate how these incentives inflate the rate of false effects in pub...
Article
Living among politically dissimilar others leads individuals to feel left out and ultimately predicts mobility away from an area. But does living in politically incongruent environment affect how we relate to other people? In two national samples (N = 12,846 and N = 6,316), the congruence between an individual’s ideological orientation and their co...
Article
Full-text available
This crowdsourced project introduces a collaborative approach to improving the reproducibility of scientific research, in which findings are replicated in qualified independent laboratories before (rather than after) they are published. Our goal is to establish a non-adversarial replication process with highly informative final results. To illustra...
Article
Full-text available
Empirically analyzing empirical evidence One of the central goals in any scientific endeavor is to understand causality. Experiments that seek to demonstrate a cause/effect relation most often manipulate the postulated causal factor. Aarts et al. describe the replication of 100 experiments reported in papers published in 2008 in three high-ranking...
Article
In science, diversity is vital to the development of new knowledge. We agree with Duarte et al. that we need more political diversity in social psychology, but contend that we need more religious diversity and methodological diversity as well. If some diversity is good, more is better (especially in science).
Article
Full-text available
Research suggesting that political conservatives are happier than political liberals has relied exclusively on self-report measures of subjective well-being. We show that this finding is fully mediated by conservatives' self-enhancing style of self-report (study 1; N = 1433) and then describe three studies drawing from "big data" sources to assess...
Article
Negativity bias explains many ideological differences, yet does not explain research such as conservatives' greater life satisfaction. Conservatives live in safer communities, perhaps to escape negative emotions, yet display numerous other community preferences unrelated to negativity. This tendency toward cognitive consistency can explain both the...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of research documents the crucial role played by moral concerns in the formation of attitudes and a wide range of political behaviors. Yet extant models of moral judgment portray a direct linkage between moral intuitions and policy attitudes, leaving little room for the influence of political context. In this article, we argue that p...
Chapter
Where does morality come from? Why are moral judgments often so similar across cultures, yet sometimes so variable? Is morality one thing, or many? Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) was created to answer these questions. In this chapter, we describe the origins, assumptions, and current conceptualization of the theory and detail the empirical findings...
Article
This research demonstrated that human nature (HN) and human uniqueness (HU) traits capture the content of Americans’ stereotypes about liberals and conservatives, respectively. Consistent with expectations derived from dehumanization theory, people more strongly associated HN traits with liberals than with conservatives, and more strongly associate...
Article
Full-text available
This research demonstrated that human nature (HN) and human uniqueness (HU) traits capture the content of Americans’ stereotypes about liberals and conservatives, respectively. Consistent with expectations derived from dehumanization theory, people more strongly associated HN traits with liberals than with conservatives, and more strongly associate...
Article
The target article's climato-economic theory will benefit by allowing for bidirectional effects and the heterogeneity of types of freedom, in order to more fully capture the coevolution of societal wealth and freedom. We also suggest alternative methods of testing climato-economic theory, such as longitudinal analyses of these countries' histories...
Article
Negativity bias explains many ideological differences, yet does not explain research such as conservatives’ greater life satisfaction. Conservatives live in safer communities, perhaps to escape negative emotions, yet display numerous other community preferences unrelated to negativity. This tendency toward cognitive consistency can explain both the...
Article
Each election season some Americans express that if their preferred candidate loses the Presidential election, then they will move to Canada (or some other country). This observation has yet to undergo an empirical test. In the present experiment, 308 Obama voters and 142 Romney voters following the 2012 election responded to one of two writing pro...
Data
We conceptualized ideological consistency as the extent to which an individual’s attitudes toward diverse political issues are coherent among themselves from an ideological standpoint. Four studies (Studies 1, 3–5) compared the ideological consistency of self-identified liberals and conservatives and two of these studies examined how their ideologi...
Article
Where does morality come from? Why are moral judgments often so similar across cultures, yet sometimes so variable? Is morality one thing, or many? Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) was created to answer these questions. In this chapter we describe the origins, assumptions, and current conceptualization of the theory, and detail the empirical findings...
Article
Reproducibility is a defining feature of science. However, because of strong incentives for innovation and weak incentives for confirmation, direct replication is rarely practiced or published. The Reproducibility Project is an open, large-scale, collaborative effort to systematically examine the rate and predictors of reproducibility in psychologi...
Article
The theory of political realignments has been debated since its conception. The prevailing perspective is that critical political realignments generally do not occur in the way they were initially described. Rather, it seems more likely that if political realignments occur, they tend to be more gradual, secular realignments akin to issue evolution...
Article
Here, we advance the ideological migration hypothesis — individuals choose to live in communities with ideologies similar to their own to satisfy their need to belong. In Study 1, incongruity between personal and community ideology predicted greater residential mobility and attraction to more ideologically-congruent communities. In Study 2, partici...
Article
Full-text available
Three studies showed that focus on the shared human threat of global climate change can encourage peaceful coexistence and discourage support for war in the face of existential threat. In Study 1, mortality salience (MS) increased Americans’ support for international peace-building after imagining the consequences of global climate change, but not...
Article
Full-text available
Terror management theory (TMT) posits that humans distance themselves from, or elevate themselves above, other animals as a way of denying their mortality. The present studies assessed whether the salience of aggressive tendencies that humans share with other animals make thoughts of death salient and whether depicting human aggression as animalist...
Article
Full-text available
Building on terror management theory, we hypothesized that viewing destroyed buildings would increase death thought accessibility and thereby elicit dogmatic belief and hostile worldview defenses. In Study 1, images of destroyed buildings and deadly terrorist attacks elicited greater death-thought accessibility than images of construction sites or...
Article
Full-text available
An academic scientist's professional success depends on publishing. Publishing norms emphasize novel, positive results. As such, disciplinary incentives encourage design, analysis, and reporting decisions that elicit positive results and ignore negative results. Prior reports demonstrate how these incentives inflate the rate of false effects in pub...
Article
Full-text available
Many studies demonstrate that mortality salience can increase negativity toward out-groups but few have examined variables that mitigate this effect. The present research examined whether subtly priming people to think of human experiences shared by people from diverse cultures increases perceived similarity of members of different groups, which th...
Chapter
Full-text available
The present chapter reviews research concerning the existential motivations for terrorism and militarism based on Terror Management Theory (TMT). Whereas terrorism and militarism entail methods of extreme violence, TMT entails a set of psychological processes that help protect the self from the aversive awareness of mortality. TMT proposes that hum...
Article
Full-text available
The Federal Rules of Evidence prohibit disclosure to civil jurors of information that is arguably related to their decision-making (e.g., that either party is insured). The basis for so-called "blindfolding" is that a jury might be biased by this information to alter its appraisal of the evidence to reach a desired verdict. The purpose of this stud...
Article
Full-text available
The present article uses terror management theory (TMT) to explore the psychological, social and cultural forces that lead diverse groups and individuals to endorse, promote and enact violence against innocent individuals. From this perspective, it is the psychological function of religious, ideological, national or ethnic ties that is crucial for...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated the impact of subtle racial priming on the persuasive impact of criticisms of Barack Obama in the month prior to the 2008 presidential election. To prime Black or White race, participants wrote a paragraph about a student with a typical Black or White name. They then read editorials that accused Obama of being unpatriotic or...
Article
Full-text available
Number of citations and the h-index are popular metrics for indexing scientific impact. These, and other existing metrics, are strongly related to scientists' seniority. This article introduces complementary indicators that are unrelated to the number of years since PhD. To illustrate cumulative and career-stage approaches for assessing the scienti...
Article
Full-text available
The Support for Diplomacy Scale (SDS) was developed to establish the unidimensional nature of peacemaking and militaristic attitudes. Across 5 studies, all 12 SDS items loaded onto a single factor, with peaceful diplomacy at one pole and militarism at the other. The SDS was associated with authoritarianism (Studies 1-4) and dogmatism (Study 4), as...
Article
Full-text available
The current article provides a terror management theory perspective of the psychological factors that lead groups and individuals to endorse, promote, and engage in violent actions against innocent individuals. This perspective provides an empirically-based, theoretically-driven approach to understanding the ways in which ideological, nationalistic...
Article
Full-text available
This article analyzes inter-group conflict through the lens of Terror Management Theory and explains how belief systems can breed animosity and hostility towards those who do not share one’s beliefs. Research provides support converging with historical analyses suggesting that many of the same psychological mechanisms that lead terrorists to take a...
Article
Full-text available
In line with terror management theory, this research demonstrates that mortality salience motivated increased support for John McCain in the absence of reminders of compassionate values. However, polls had indicated that Barack Obama was generally perceived as the more compassionate of the two candidates. Thus, when compassionate values were made s...
Article
Terror management theory (TMT) suggests that people are motivated to elevate themselves above other animals as a way of denying their creatureliness and mortality. Based on this reasoning, the present study assessed whether infrahumanizing violence by emphasizing its similarities to animal aggression would lead to reduced support for war, especiall...
Chapter
Full-text available
Although it has often been said that violence begets violence, policy decisions rarely seem to reflect this ancient wisdom. Today's turbulent world of terrorism and counter-terrorism is certainly no exception, with violence being the tool of choice for all sides, and seemingly little regard for human life. This chapter discusses the psychological p...
Article
Full-text available
This article offers terror management theory (TMT) as a conceptual lens through which the process of infrahumanization can be viewed. TMT suggests that people are threatened by the awareness of their mortal, animal nature, and that by emphasizing their symbolic, cultural—and hence, uniquely human—existence, they can help quell this threat. The arti...
Chapter
Full-text available
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 the United States led the charge in a global war on terrorism using hardline violent military actions to pursue terrorist groups in many nations. Thus far, this war has led to two armed conflicts in Afghanistan, where al Qaeda was known to reside and train potential future terrorists,...