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Humans evolved in the context of intense intergroup competition, and groups comprised of loyal members more often succeeded than those that were not. Therefore, selective pressures have consistently sculpted human minds to be "tribal," and group loyalty and concomitant cognitive biases likely exist in all groups. Modern politics is one of the most salient forms of modern coalitional conflict and elicits substantial cognitive biases. Given the common evolutionary history of liberals and conservatives, there is little reason to expect pro-tribe biases to be higher on one side of the political spectrum than the other. We call this the evolutionarily plausible null hypothesis and recent research has supported it. In a recent meta-analysis, liberals and conservatives showed similar levels of partisan bias, and a number of pro-tribe cognitive tendencies often ascribed to conservatives (e.g., intolerance toward dissimilar others) have been found in similar degrees in liberals. We conclude that tribal bias is a natural and nearly ineradicable feature of human cognition, and that no group—not even one’s own—is immune.
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Tribalism is Human Nature
**In press; Current Directions in Psychological Science; as of June 10, 2019**
Cory J. Clark
Durham University
Brittany S. Liu
Kalamazoo College
Bo M. Winegard
Marietta College
Peter H. Ditto
University of California, Irvine
Humans evolved in the context of intense intergroup competition, and groups comprised of loyal
members more often succeeded than those that were not. Therefore, selective pressures have
consistently sculpted human minds to be "tribal," and group loyalty and concomitant cognitive
biases likely exist in all groups. Modern politics is one of the most salient forms of modern
coalitional conflict and elicits substantial cognitive biases. Given the common evolutionary
history of liberals and conservatives, there is little reason to expect pro-tribe biases to be higher
on one side of the political spectrum than the other. We call this the evolutionarily plausible null
hypothesis and recent research has supported it. In a recent meta-analysis, liberals and
conservatives showed similar levels of partisan bias, and a number of pro-tribe cognitive
tendencies often ascribed to conservatives (e.g., intolerance toward dissimilar others) have been
found in similar degrees in liberals. We conclude that tribal bias is a natural and nearly
ineradicable feature of human cognition, and that no group—not even one’s own—is immune.
Keywords: politics, bias, symmetry, tribal loyalty, intergroup conflict
Tribalism is Human Nature
The human mind was forged by the crucible of coalitional conflict (Geary, 2005). For
many thousands of years, human tribes have competed against each other. Coalitions that were
more cooperative and cohesive not only survived but also appropriated land and resources from
other coalitions and therefore reproduced more prolifically, thus passing their genes (and their
loyalty traits) to later generations (Tooby & Cosmides, 2010). Because coalitional coordination
and commitment were crucial to group success, tribes punished and ostracized defectors and
rewarded loyal members with status and resources (as they continue to do today). Thus, displays
of loyalty and commitment to other members of the tribe also enhanced individual-level fitness
(by increasing status and resources and minimizing risks of ostracization). Over time, this would
select for traits that signal and enhance coalitional commitment (Berreby, 2005) such as ingroup
favoritism (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Tribalism, therefore, is natural.
Tribal Bias
Although tribal loyalties inspire many noble behaviors, they can impel humans to
sacrifice sound reasoning and judgmental accuracy for group belonging and commitment
(Kahan, Peters, Dawson, & Slavic, 2017). In other words, tribal loyalties can lead to tribal
biases. For example, people selectively approach information that supports their tribe’s interests
and avoid information that has potential to harm their tribe (by watching particular news
networks, or by forming “echo chambers” in their social environments; Stroud, 2010). And
people evaluate information they are exposed to in a biased manner by being uncritically
By tribe, we simply mean a human social group sharing a common interest, and by tribalism,
we mean tendencies to be loyal to and favorable toward one’s own tribe (and less favorable
toward other tribes). By human nature or natural, we mean evolved human propensities that
develop in most humans.
accepting of information that supports their tribe’s agenda and more skeptical of information that
opposes it (Ditto et al., 2018). These kinds of cognitive biases are problematic because (1)
post-enlightenment societies prize reason and rationality and no longer explicitly tolerate
obvious displays of ingroup favoritism, and (2) modern governments require the coordination of
multiple groups (e.g., political groups) to function. Biases decrease the likelihood of consensus
as groups fail to agree even on the facts in a particular debate.
There are at least two reasons tribalism distorts beliefs. First, beliefs display and signal
loyalty to group goals. Asserted opinions at least partially function as behavioral intention
indicators and therefore as coalitional membership indicators (Pietraszewski, Curry, Petersen,
Cosmides, Tooby, 2015). When one asserts “Abortion is immoral,” one indicates willingness to
coordinate with others to regulate abortion. Coalitions that generally oppose abortion (e.g., the
modern GOP) react negatively toward putative members who assert skepticism about pro-life
principles (Ditto & Mastronarde, 2009) because this indicates an unwillingness to cooperate on
that goal. If beliefs are held fervently, compel strong emotional displays, or are costly to hold,
they might function as honest (and thus trustworthy) loyalty signals (Kurzban & Christner,
2011). Perhaps perversely, dogmatism and resilience to contrary evidence likely enhance the
persuasiveness of the signal, because they show that one is strongly dedicated to the group’s
ideology in spite of potential consequences (e.g., being wrong about a difficult to answer
Second, beliefs are precursors to potential arguments that support the interests of the
group, which coalitions are often formed to pursue and protect (e.g. wealthy people who want
low tax rates). In modern societies, violence is verboten, so tribes prevail not by conquering
other tribes, but by persuading other people—often, by making arguments. Sincere beliefs
generally lead to better and more zealous arguments than cynical hypocrisy (von Hippel &
Trivers, 2011). Therefore, people are motivated to favor and believe information that promotes
their group’s interests and to resist information that opposes their group’s interests because it
makes them more persuasive proponents of their group’s cause (Kahan, Jenkins-Smith, &
Braman, 2011).
Political Bias
These two reasons also likely explain why politics appears to be one of the most fertile
grounds for bias (Van Bavel & Pereira, 2018). Political contests are highly consequential
because they determine how society will allocate coveted resources such as wealth, power, and
prestige. Winners gain control of cultural narratives and the mechanisms of government and can
use them to benefit their coalition, often at the expense of losers. Given these high stakes,
motivations to signal group loyalty and to defend the positions of the group are likely
particularly powerful in politics.
Within the political domain, individuals appear most biased about those issues most
important to the group, which often include moral commitments (Ditto, Pizarro, & Tannenbaum,
2009). As noted above, moral commitments signal that one is willing to conform to the rules of
the coalition. Therefore, groups are particularly prone to giving status to those who conform to
and vocalize support for moral norms and to deducting status from those who rebel and vocalize
dissent against those norms (Descioli & Kurzban, 2013). Thus, we can expect tribal biases to be
especially large for important moral commitments (Tetlock, 2002). For example, if opposing
abortion is a central goal for the political right, conservatives will be particularly biased about
facts surrounding abortion. If enhancing the status of women in society is a central moral goal of
the political left, liberals might be particularly biased about facts surrounding the gender wage
However, humans also care about truth and accuracy (for obvious evolutionary reasons),
and so biases are most likely to emerge for issues where the truth is ambiguous (Munro, Weih, &
Tsai, 2010). Many if not most political (and moral) disagreements are about ambiguous issues.
Experts disagree about when a fetus or child can experience conscious pain and about the many
contributors to the gender wage gap (and even the size of it). Even if experts could agree on the
facts, political positions often reflect opinions about what ought to be the case (often subjective
beliefs) based on beliefs about what is the case (ideally objective facts). For example, if the
within-profession wage gap is largely due to women’s choices to work fewer hours, should they
be paid the same as men? Policy choices often involve painful and complicated tradeoffs (e.g.,
interfering with free market autonomy to reduce income inequality, investing in new and more
costly energy technology to minimize climate change).
When the truth is ambiguous, tribal biases are more powerful because argument is more
important than when the truth is clear. Groups do not debate whether trees exist because the
answer is virtually undeniable. They do, however, debate whether fetuses deserve various legal
protections or whether women are paid less than men for equal work, because there are
intelligent arguments on both sides of these issues and there is no one obvious correct answer.
There is an unfortunate tribal logic here. One might imagine that ambiguity would compel
humility and confessions of uncertainty, but when ambiguity occurs in the context of coalitional
conflict, it may actually increase epistemic arrogance and bias. This is perfectly sensible,
however, if we remember that humans are coalitional animals, not dispassionate reasoners. They
were not “designed” to be humble; rather, they were “designed” to conform and to protect the
status of their tribe (Kahan et al., 2017).
Our guiding assumption, then, is that tribal bias is a nearly ineradicable element of human
nature and that it causes predictable cognitive biases (those that benefit the self and the group).
Specifically, people will be biased in favor of their tribe, particularly for issues important to the
tribe (often moral issues) and particularly when ambiguity is high and therefore the importance
of argument and persuasion is high. Given that modern liberals and conservatives share
evolutionary histories that favor loyalty signals and tribal biases, it is a priori likely that the
psychological propensities for bias would be similar on the political left and right. We call this
the evolutionarily plausible null hypothesis and recent research has supported it.
Everyone’s a Little Bit Biased…
Social sciences for a long time focused especially on the biases of conservatives, with
some scholars arguing that conservatives are more biased than liberals (e.g., Jost, Glaser,
Kruglanski, & Sulloway, 2003).
But in recent years, researchers have pushed back against this
narrative, contending that the overwhelming preponderance of liberals in the social sciences may
have skewed research about political ideologies and the people who hold them. Liberals likely
see their own biases as truths (Pronin, Lin, & Ross, 2002) and see conservative beliefs as
peculiar and wrong; therefore, they seek to explain the “conservative mind” and its perplexing
biases (Duarte et al., 2015; Eitan et al., 2019).
This insight inspired Ditto and colleagues (2018) to conduct a meta-analysis to test these
competing hypotheses. Across 51 experiments that tested the tendency for liberals and
Likely all political tribes display group loyalty biases, but the majority of this work has been
conducted in the U.S., so we focus on U.S. politics here. Future work should examine these
patterns in other political systems.
conservatives to evaluate identical information more favorably when it supports their own
political commitments than when it opposes them (for example, a death penalty supporter
evaluating scientific methods as more valid when the results of those methods support rather than
oppose the deterrent efficacy of the death penalty), there was strong support for the symmetry
hypothesis: liberals and conservatives were both biased, and to virtually equal degrees. Because
the included studies were performed under tightly controlled laboratory conditions, these results
cannot tell us how liberal and conservative biases might vary over time and context, but they do
suggest that liberals and conservatives share the same basic psychology that leads to bias—and
to similar degrees. This finding is consistent with the evolutionarily plausible null hypothesis:
tribal bias is natural, and thus all political tribes should be similarly susceptible to it.
…Even liberals
Whereas earlier scholars often emphasized that conservatives were higher in proclivities
that ought to predict stronger biases (than liberals) such as authoritarianism and dissonance
avoidance, a new wave of research in social psychology suggests that many of these proclivities
exist in equal levels in conservatives and liberals. As can be seen in Table 1, these include
authoritarianism, discrimination, dissonance avoidance, prejudice, selective exposure, and
resistance to science. For example, although researchers previously thought conservatives were
more intolerant of dissimilar others, such results may have been due to confounds between the
target groups investigated by liberal researchers (e.g., African Americans) and the political
ideology of the target groups (e.g., African Americans tend to be politically liberal). More recent
work suggests that people exhibit higher intolerance toward groups perceived as more dissimilar
to their own group, and to similar degrees for liberals and conservatives (Brandt, Reyna,
Chambers, Crawford, & Wetherell, 2014).
Table 1. Recent work demonstrating more symmetry between liberals and conservatives than
previously believed.
Left-wing authoritarianism exists, and
predicts similar outcomes as right-wing
Conway, Houck, Gornick, &
Repke, 2018
Liberals and conservatives similarly
endorse more discrimination against
groups that violate their values than
groups that do not
Wetherell, Brandt, & Reyna,
Liberals and conservatives similarly
avoid writing counter-attitudinal essays
Collins, Crawford, & Brandt,
Liberals and conservatives are similarly
intolerant toward ideologically
dissimilar and threatening groups
Brandt et al., 2014
Resistance to
Liberals and conservatives have similar
negative reactions to dissonant science
Liberals and conservatives similarly
deny scientific interpretations of results
that conflict with their attitudes
Nisbett, Cooper, & Garrett,
Washburn & Skitka, 2018
Selective exposure
Liberals and conservatives are similarly
averse to learning the views of
ideological opponents
Extreme conservatives demonstrate the
most selective exposure, but moderate
conservatives demonstrate the least
Frimer, Skitka, & Motyl,
Rodriguez, Moskowitz,
Salem, & Ditto, 2017
This does not mean that conservatives and liberals are similar in all ways or that one
group will never be vastly more biased or incorrect than the other—they will (Federico & Malka,
2018; Ditto et al., 2019). Groups, as we have argued, are most biased about issues that are
morally important and ambiguous. The general psychological propensities for bias appear similar
on the political left and right, but there are predictable domain-specific asymmetries in bias.
To consider a few examples, conservatives appear more motivated to reject
anthropogenic climate change than liberals, likely because it seems to support government
regulation and more centralization and hurts the fossil fuel industry, an important part of the
Republican base in the United States (Lewandowsky & Oberauer, 2016). Conservatives may also
exaggerate the amount of choice people exercise over their sexuality because homosexuality is
considered immoral by a substantial proportion of the religious believers in the Republican
coalition (Haider-Markel & Joslyn, 2008), and contending that it is a free decision rather than an
innate inclination is more compelling for moral condemnation (Clark, Baumeister, & Ditto,
2017). On the other hand, a growing body of work suggests that liberals in general are more
biased than conservatives about traditionally conceived disadvantaged groups (e.g. women,
Blacks; see Table 2), likely because an important moral value of the political left is opposition to
inequality (Jost, Nosek, & Gosling, 2008).
Table 2. Recent work documenting a domain-specific bias asymmetry about disadvantaged
groups such that liberals are more biased than conservatives
All political orientations demonstrate a pro-black bias, but higher
liberalism was associated with a larger pro-black bias
Liberals were more willing to make a utilitarian sacrifice of a White
man’s life than of a Black man’s life, whereas race had no influence on
conservatives’ judgments
Whereas liberals are more inclined to amplify the successes of
disadvantaged groups (i.e., Blacks, women) than advantaged groups
(i.e., Whites, men), conservatives treat the successes of both groups
more similarly
White liberals present less self-competence to Black than White
interaction partners, whereas White conservatives treat the groups more
Liberals are biased against the notion that there could be biological
differences between demographic groups when those differences appear
to favor advantaged groups, whereas conservatives display less of a bias
A study from a political bias meta-analysis with the closest relevance to
disadvantaged groups (affirmative action and same-sex marriage) found
one of the largest effect sizes for liberal bias (Crawford, Jussim, Cain, &
Cohen, 2013)
Note that if one group currently has more or stronger concerns (because of historical and
time variant factors such as rapidly changing demographics or having recently lost a presidential
election), or if one group has more moral convictions in general, one might predict more bias in
that group (during that time period, or in general). However, our best current estimate is that
domain-specific asymmetries between liberals and conservatives appear to produce general
symmetries in pro-tribe biases among liberals and conservatives when averaged across multiple
domains (and over at least a brief period of time). Until newer or better information contradicts
these recent findings, it seems reasonable to posit that liberals and conservatives are roughly
symmetrical in their pro-tribe cognitive tendencies.
Humans are tribal creatures. They were not designed to reason dispassionately about the
world; rather, they were designed to reason in ways that promote the interests of their coalition
(and hence, themselves). It would therefore be surprising if a particular group of individuals did
not display such tendencies, and recent work suggests, at least in the U.S. political sphere, that
both liberals and conservatives are substantially biased—and to similar degrees. Historically, and
perhaps even in modern society, these tribal biases are quite useful for group cohesion but
perhaps also for other moral purposes (e.g., liberal bias in favor of disadvantaged groups might
help increase equality). Also, it is worth noting that a bias toward viewing one’s own tribe in a
favorable light is not necessarily irrational. If one’s goal is to be admired among one’s own tribe,
fervidly supporting their agenda and promoting their goals, even if that means having or
promoting erroneous beliefs, is often a reasonable strategy (Kahan et al., 2017). The incentives
for holding an accurate opinion about global climate change, for example, may not be worth the
social rejection and loss of status that could accompany challenging the views of one’s political
However, these biases decrease the likelihood of consensus across political divides. Thus,
developing effective strategies for disincentivizing political tribalism and promoting the much
less natural but more salutary tendencies toward civil political discourse and reasonable
compromise are crucial priorities for future research. A useful theoretical starting point is that
tribalism and concomitant biases are part of human nature, and that no group, not even one’s
own, is immune.
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Recommended Readings
1. Ditto et al., 2018 (see References): A meta-analysis of partisan bias studies (which found
liberals and conservatives showed an equivalent tendency to evaluate politically congenial
information more favorably than politically uncongenial information), including a discussion
of how to reconcile conflicting literature on the question of symmetry in partisan bias.
2. Eitan et al., 2019 (see References): An article demonstrating the extent to which political
social psychology research can be affected by liberal viewpoints and values.
3. Van Bavel and Pereira, 2018 (see References): A comprehensive and topical overview on
ways in which partisan identity can affect individuals’ cognition, judgments, and decision-
4. Kahan, Peters, Dawson, and Slavic, 2017 (see References): An article for understanding how
motivated reasoning in politics serves to maintain individuals’ standing in important ingroups
(e.g., based on political identity).
5. Federico and Malka, 2018 (see References): Example of a review article that challenges the
notion that conservative ideology is invariably linked with certain psychological dispositions
and argues instead that the association is often dependent on various factors, such as issue,
context, and group loyalty.
... Publication of the European Centre for Research Training and Development -UK 18 people who express themselves in English and the people who express themselves in French. Following Clark et al., (2019)'s declaration which says that tribalism is human nature, there is bound to be discriminations and in-group differences which places people in different ideological camps and in extreme cases, exclusion from common interest. ...
... Many works have been written in discourse analysis (Farcloughs 1995(Farcloughs , 2000 and amongst these works, some discourses have been based on language and gender (Cameron 2003(Cameron , 2005Butler 1995Butler , 2000, others discussed discrimination, racial discrimination, ethnic identification and tribalism in Africa and the world (Clark et al., 2019;Trappel 2019;Sinha 2020). In the case of Cameroon, most of these works have discussed language of hate on social media (Fombo, 2021) (undefended thesis) and metaphors, signalling crises (Tchouape 2019). ...
... Considering this aspect of ethnic upliftment as sources of conflict, hate and discrimination, they propose that Africans should be educated and urbanised such that feelings of ethnicity will cease to cause exclusions and perversion on public policies (Banam, Miguel and Posner 2004). On the other hand, other researchers feel that tribalism is practiced at all levels as it is part of human nature to belong to self-identified groups and place biases upon the others who do not belong (Clark et al., 2019). For this reason, people hate others. ...
Language is a vehicle through which people communicate with one another. The words and expressions people use to communicate with each other can either build relationships, act as a catalyst to commence conflict or fan the flames of an ongoing conflict. People do not usually find themselves in a conflict zone with persons to refer to them as “the other”. Social media brings people from around the globe to communicate but there is always a feeling of belonging that units these people in the social media speech community. This work examines the language of discrimination on social media by Cameroonians at the tribal, regional and gender levels. It looks at the language from the level of discursive vocabulary items used by Cameroonians on social media that can provoke feelings of discrimination towards one another. Data for this study comprised of some 50 WhatsApp and Facebook screenshots and some 25 questionnaires administered through random selection of users of the social media platforms under study. Using the theory of Critical Discourse Analysis by Norman Fairclough, (1995) and the discursive model of Language and Gender by Cameron (2005). The results reveal that 100% of the respondents agreed to the fact that there is the prevalence of the language of discrimination on social media in varying proportions at gender, regional and tribal level. 67% of those who have encountered such discrimination express that this can affect life out of social media, while the 33% of those who think it will not affect their lives put up several mechanisms to shield this effect like ignoring such posts, defending their kind or reproaching the author of the discriminatory post.
... Postmodern tribes do not dominate the lives of individuals, they are transient, enterprising, and playful rather than devoted (Goulding et al., 2013). Since tribalism is an indispensable part of human nature, it encourages cooperation and thus supports reasoning (Clark et al., 2019). The main thing is to gather individuals with common values and to defend the tribe against opposing views. ...
... In this context, we can say that the risk tolerance levels of these people will be high. Humans are creatures with group values and tend to decide for the benefit of the groups they belong to rather than making decisions impartially (Clark et al., 2019). In this direction, herd behavior emerges when individuals start to act according to the feelings and thoughts of other people with whom they interact socially, instead of following their own beliefs and knowledge (Saxena et al., 2016). ...
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This study investigated the mediating effect of confidence and herd behavior on the impact of financial tribalism on risk tolerance. In this regard, data were collected from Turkey using an online questionnaire between April and May 2023, based on convenience sampling and volunteerism, and a total of 191 participants were reached. In the study, four different variables, one independent, one dependent, and two mediating variables, were considered. Financial tribalism is the independent variable, risk tolerance is the dependent variable, and confidence and herd behavior are the mediating variables. The herd behavior variable is considered in two dimensions as informed and uninformed herd behavior. In addition, scales related to financial tribalism, risk tolerance and herd behavior variables were newly developed. First, explanatory factor analysis was performed for the newly developed scales, and then confirmatory factor analysis was performed for the variable of confidence, since it was a previously used scale. Secondly, after testing the reliability of the scales, correlation analyzes were performed to determine the relationships between the variables. Finally, the research model was tested using structural equation modeling. According to the results of the analysis, the reliability of the newly developed scales was ensured and the fit index values for confidence were found at an acceptable level. According to the results of the correlation analysis, a positive relationship was found between financial tribalism and other variables. Findings on the mediating effect showed that confidence and uninformed herd behavior mediated the effect of financial tribalism on risk tolerance. In contrast, mediating effect of informed herd behavior on the relationship between financial tribalism and risk tolerance did not find. In addition, it was found that financial tribalism has a positive effect on trust, that is, the trust levels of individuals who are included in a social group increase.
... Refined and robust characterization of such individual attributes may allow these profiles to be incorporated into the tasks of preventing and counteracting the threatening resurgences of terrorist attacks. Always keeping in mind that political violent extremism usually arises in situations of intergroup conflict [6,30,[77][78][79] and that the interactions and reciprocal influences between leaders and followers that form such kinds of competitive coalitions and combative groups [30,80,81], present complex dynamics that require nuanced dissections [82,83]. ...
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Neuroimaging of political ideologies (left-wing vs. right-wing; conservatism vs. liberalism), unveiled brain systems for mediating the cognitive and affective inclinations of partisanship. Brain networks related to deliberation and cognitive control, as well as those processing subjective values and social norms, were mainly involved. Correlational links from normative people were corroborated by brain lesions and focal transcranial stimulation techniques. Neuroimaging studies with extremists ready to endorse violent actions are scarce and do not provide fully concordant maps with those coming from people with strong partisanship allegiances. The present review discusses the advances made in the description of the neural systems that mediate both ordinary partisanship (the “partisan brain”), and radicalized extremism prone to violence (the “extremist brain”), signaling concomitances and differences. Further advances might come from unveiling distinctive interactions between prefrontal cortex areas with other cortical and subcortical regions that may help to outline dedicated maps and modes of operation. Moreover, measuring the hardness of beliefs and the strength of value adscriptions together with cognitive flexibility/rigidity, aggressiveness, ambition, high-risk seeking and other individual traits rooted in psychobiological substrates appear indispensable to distinguish between partisanship alignments and violent extremism proneness.
... Answering this question is rather important in the digital age, where concerns about the spread of misinformation [41], attitude polarization [39], and tribalistic thinking (Krueger & Grüning, preprint) are becoming ever more pressing. Researchers are now exploring how people cope with uncertainty in these contexts [8,20]), and how free will might be related to this [15]. ...
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We empirically explore whether perceptions of (in)determinism are related to the willingness to tolerate uncertainty. We argue that the belief in indeterminism supports a sense of personal autonomy and independence from external influence, a stance that provides protection from perceived uncertainties. Our preliminary study ( N = 61) suggests that the belief in an indeterminate world is positively associated with uncertainty tolerance, whereas beliefs in free will and metaphysical dualism are not. We extend these findings by examining proxies of indeterminism belief in a cross-national dataset ( N = 31 countries). We find that greater political and personal freedom is associated with higher tolerance for uncertainty, whereas religious belief, which posits a world determined by divine powers, is negatively associated with uncertainty tolerance. With these theoretical ideas and empirical findings, we hope to stimulate research to further advance our understanding of the association between belief in indeterminism and tolerating uncertainty.
Conference Paper
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In this study, the mediating role of trust in the effect of financial tribalism and narratives on risky investment intention was investigated. Financial tribalism is social groups that individuals join to obtain financial information. Narratives, on the other hand, are the way people express themselves in a sense in logical harmony. The narratives were considered in two dimensions as belief in narratives and creation of narratives in this research. The data of the research were collected from Turkey between April-May 2023. A total of 191 participants were reached by using an online survey with convenience sampling. Scales related to financial tribalism and narratives, which are research variables, were developed within the scope of this study. In this context, while explanatory factor analysis and reliability analyzes were performed on these newly developed variables, confirmatory factor analysis was performed on other variables (trust and risky investment intention). According to the results of the reliability analysis, the newly developed scales ensured the reliability conditions. For other variables, fit index values were found above acceptable levels. Then, the research model was tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). The findings of the model shown that trust has a full mediator effect on the effect of financial tribalism on risky investment intention. On the other hand, while trust has a mediating role in the effect of creating a narrative, one of the sub-dimensions of the narrative, on risky investment intention, the mediating effect of trust in the relationship with the dimension of believing in narratives could not be determined.
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Most Whites, particularly sociopolitical liberals, now endorse racial equality. Archival and experimental research reveals a subtle but persistent ironic consequence: White liberals self-present less competence to minorities than to other Whites-that is, they patronize minorities stereotyped as lower status and less competent. In an initial archival demonstration of the competence downshift, Study 1 examined the content of White Republican and Democratic presidential candidates' campaign speeches. Although Republican candidates did not significantly shift language based on audience racial composition, Democratic candidates used less competence-related language to minority audiences than to White audiences. Across 5 experiments (total N = 2,157), White participants responded to a Black or White hypothetical (Studies 2, 3, 4, S1) or ostensibly real (Study 5) interaction partner. Three indicators of self-presentation converged: competence-signaling of vocabulary selected for an assignment, competence-related traits selected for an introduction, and competence-related content of brief, open-ended introductions. Conservatism indicators included self-reported political affiliation (liberal-conservative), Right-Wing Authoritarianism (values-based conservatism), and Social Dominance Orientation (hierarchy-based conservatism). Internal meta-analyses revealed that liberals-but not conservatives-presented less competence to Black interaction partners than to White ones. The simple effect was small but significant across studies, and most reliable for the self-reported measure of conservatism. This possibly unintentional but ultimately patronizing competence-downshift suggests that well-intentioned liberal Whites may draw on low-status/competence stereotypes to affiliate with minorities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
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Significance Inequality prospers when successes of advantaged group members (e.g., men, whites) get more attention than equivalent successes of disadvantaged group members (e.g., women, blacks). What determines whose successes individuals deem worth promoting vs. those they ignore? Using hundreds of thousands of tweets from the 2016 Olympics, we show that liberals are much more likely than conservatives to shine a spotlight on black and female (vs. white and male) US gold medalists. Two further experiments provide evidence that such differential amplification of successful targets is driven by a motivation—higher among liberals—to raise disadvantaged groups’ standing in service of equality. We find that liberals drive differential amplification more than conservatives and establish a behavioral mechanism through which liberals’ egalitarian motives manifest.
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Baron and Jost (this issue) present three critiques of our meta-analysis demonstrating similar levels of partisan bias in liberals and conservatives: 1) that the studies we examined were biased toward finding symmetrical bias among liberals and conservatives, 2) that the studies we examined do not measure partisan bias but rather rational Bayesian updating, and 3) that social psychology is not biased in favor of liberals but biased instead toward creating false equivalencies. We respond in turn that: 1) the included studies covered a wide variety of issues at the core of contemporary political conflict and fairly compared bias by establishing conditions under which both liberals and conservatives would have similar motivations and opportunity to demonstrate bias, 2) we carefully selected studies that were least vulnerable to Bayesian counterexplanation and most scientists and laypeople consider these studies demonstrations of bias, and 3) there is reason to be vigilant about liberal bias in social psychology, but this does not preclude concern about other possible biases, all of which threaten good science. We close with recommendations for future research and urge researchers to move beyond broad generalizations of political differences that are insensitive to time and context.
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The present investigation provides the first systematic empirical tests for the role of politics in academic research. In a large sample of scientific abstracts from the field of social psychology, we find both evaluative differences, such that conservatives are described more negatively than liberals, and explanatory differences, such that conservatism is more likely to be the focus of explanation than liberalism. In light of the ongoing debate about politicized science, a forecasting survey permitted scientists to state a priori empirical predictions about the results, and then change their beliefs in light of the evidence. Participating scientists accurately predicted the direction of both the evaluative and explanatory differences, but at the same time significantly overestimated both effect sizes. Scientists also updated their broader beliefs about political bias in response to the empirical results, providing a model for addressing divisive scientific controversies across fields.
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Both liberals and conservatives accuse their political opponents of partisan bias, but is there empirical evidence that one side of the political aisle is indeed more biased than the other? To address this question, we meta-analyzed the results of 51 experimental studies, involving over 18,000 participants, that examined one form of partisan bias—the tendency to evaluate otherwise identical information more favorably when it supports one’s political beliefs or allegiances than when it challenges those beliefs or allegiances. Two hypotheses based on previous literature were tested: an asymmetry hypothesis (predicting greater partisan bias in conservatives than in liberals) and a symmetry hypothesis (predicting equal levels of partisan bias in liberals and conservatives). Mean overall partisan bias was robust (r = .245), and there was strong support for the symmetry hypothesis: Liberals (r = .235) and conservatives (r = .255) showed no difference in mean levels of bias across studies. Moderator analyses reveal this pattern to be consistent across a number of different methodological variations and political topics. Implications of the current findings for the ongoing ideological symmetry debate and the role of partisan bias in scientific discourse and political conflict are discussed.
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Recent scholarship has challenged the long-held assumption in the social sciences that Conservatives are more biased than Liberals, yet little work deliberately explores domains of liberal bias. Here, we demonstrate that Liberals (some might call them Progressives) are particularly prone to bias about victims’ groups (e.g. women, Black people) and identify a set of beliefs that consistently predict this bias, termed Equalitarianism. Equalitarianism, we believe, stems from an aversion to inequality and a desire to protect relatively low status groups, and includes three interrelated beliefs: (1) demographic groups do not differ biologically; (2) prejudice is ubiquitous and explains existing group disparities; (3) society can, and should, make all groups equal in society. This leads to bias against information that portrays a perceived privileged group more favorably than a perceived victims’ group. Eight studies and twelve mini meta-analyses (n=3,274) support this theory. Liberalism was associated with perceiving certain groups as victims (Studies 1a-1b). In Studies 2-7 and meta-analyses, Liberals evaluated the same study as less credible when the results portrayed a privileged group (men and White people) more favorably than a victims’ group (women and Black people) than vice versa. Ruling out alternative explanations of normative reasoning, significant order effects in within-subjects designs in Study 6 and Study 7 (preregistered) suggest that Liberals believe they should not evaluate identical information differently depending on which group is portrayed more favorably, yet do so. In all studies, higher equalitarianism mediated the relationship between liberalism and lower credibility ratings when privileged groups were portrayed more favorably. Although not predicted a priori, meta-analyses also revealed Moderates to be the most balanced in their judgments. These findings do not indicate whether this bias is morally justifiable, only that it exists.
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Although past research suggests authoritarianism may be a uniquely right-wing phenomenon, the present two studies tested the hypothesis that authoritarianism exists in both right-wing and left-wing contexts in essentially equal degrees. Across two studies, university (n = 475) and Mechanical Turk (n = 298) participants completed either the RWA (right-wing authoritarianism) scale or a newly developed (and parallel) LWA (left-wing authoritarianism) scale. Participants further completed measurements of ideology and three domain-specific scales: prejudice, dogmatism, and attitude strength. Findings from both studies lend support to an authoritarianism symmetry hypothesis: Significant positive correlations emerged between LWA and measurements of liberalism, prejudice, dogmatism, and attitude strength. These results largely paralleled those correlating RWA with identical conservative-focused measurements, and an overall effect-size measurement showed LWA was similarly related to those constructs (compared to RWA) in both Study 1 and Study 2. Taken together, these studies provide evidence that LWA may be a viable construct in ordinary U.S. samples.
Democracies assume accurate knowledge by the populace, but the human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning. We articulate why and how identification with political parties – known as partisanship – can bias information processing in the human brain. There is extensive evidence that people engage in motivated political reasoning, but recent research suggests that partisanship can alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgments. We propose an identity-based model of belief for understanding the influence of partisanship on these cognitive processes. This framework helps to explain why people place party loyalty over policy, and even over truth. Finally, we discuss strategies for de-biasing information processing to help to create a shared reality across partisan divides.
Research on the dispositional origins of political preferences is flourishing, and the primary conclusion drawn from this work is that stronger needs for security and certainty attract people to a broad-based politically conservative ideology. Though this literature covers much ground, most integrative assessments of it have paid insufficient attention to the presence and implications of contingencies in the relationship between dispositional attributes and political attitudes. In this article, we review research showing that relationships between needs for security and certainty and political preferences vary considerably—sometimes to the point of directional shifts—on the basis of (1) issue domain and (2) contextual factors governing the content and volume of political discourse individuals are exposed to. On the basis of this evidence, we argue that relationships between dispositional attributes and political preferences vary in the extent to which they reflect an organic functional resonance between dispositions and preferences or identity-expressive motivation to adopt a political attitude merely because it is discursively packaged with other need-congruent attitudes. We contend that such a distinction is critical to gaining a realistic understanding of the origins and nature of ideological belief systems, and we consequently recommend an increased focus on issue-based and contextual variation in relationships between dispositions and political preferences.