Several times on this show, we’ve discussed the topic of ideological asymmetry. In other words, are people of all political persuasions equally biased, equally prone to reasoning based on their emotions to support prior commitments?
A new scientific paper (PDF) has recently come out that reopens this question, so naturally, we had to invite on one of its authors. His name is Peter Ditto, and he’s a social psychologist at the University of California-Irvine who has been a leader in the study of emotional, or motivated, reasoning.
At the same time, Ditto also studies the psychological foundations of political ideology more broadly. And in another recent paper, he and colleagues including Jonathan Haidt, provide a wealth of data on the personalities and motivations of people who choose to be libertarian. So we wanted to talk about that as well.
Peter Ditto is department chair and professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California-Irvine. His research focuses on motivated reasoning and how our differing moral emotions tend to impel it—and how it is involved in partisan political biases.
The scientific papers discussed in this episode are the following:
- Liu, B., & Ditto, P. H. (in press). “What dilemma? Moral evaluation shapes factual belief.” Social Psychological and Personality Science.
- Iyer, R., Koleva, S., Graham, J., Ditto, P. H., & Haidt, J. (in press). “Understanding libertarian morality: The psychological dispositions of self-identified libertarians.” PLoS ONE.