Political left, right similarly motivated to avoid rival views

April 25, 2017 by Brian Flood
A new report from social psychologists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Winnipeg suggests people on both sides of the political aisle are similarly motivated to dismiss monetary enticements in order to distance themselves from hearing or reading opposing ideals and information. Credit: UIC

A new report from social psychologists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Winnipeg suggests people on both sides of the political aisle are similarly motivated to dismiss monetary enticements in order to distance themselves from hearing or reading opposing ideals and information.

The research, published online by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, details the findings from five studies involving liberals and conservatives who were presented with statements on issues such as , U.S. and Canada elections, marijuana, climate change, guns and abortion.

Approximately two-thirds of respondents declined a chance to win extra money in order to avoid reading statements that didn't support their position, say report co-authors Linda Skitka, UIC professor of psychology, and Matt Motyl, UIC assistant professor of psychology.

The UIC researchers and Jeremy A. Frimer, a corresponding author from the University of Winnipeg, indicate the divide goes beyond political topics.

Respondents also had a "greater desire to hear from like- versus unlike-minded others on questions such as preferred beverages (Coke vs. Pepsi), seasons (spring vs. autumn), airplane seats (aisle vs. window), and sports leagues (NFL vs. NBA)," they wrote.

The aversion to hearing or learning about the views of their ideological opponents is not a product of people already being or feeling knowledgeable, or attributable to election fatigue in the case of political issues, according to the researchers.

"Rather, people on both sides indicated that they anticipated that hearing from the other side would induce cognitive dissonance," such that would require effort or cause frustration, and "undermine a sense of shared reality with the person expressing disparate views" that would harm relationships, they reported.

The researchers note the drawback of liberals and conservatives retreating to ideological information bubbles.

"What could ultimately be a contest of ideas is being replaced by two, non-interacting monopolies," they said.

Explore further: Moralistic thinking on political left, right not so different

Related Stories

Political left, right both inspired by utopian hopes: study

December 5, 2016

Despite the ideological differences separating liberals and conservatives, they share similar motivations for their political engagement, according to a new study from a University of Illinois at Chicago social psychologist.

Recommended for you

How to cut your lawn for grasshoppers

November 22, 2017

Picture a grasshopper landing randomly on a lawn of fixed area. If it then jumps a certain distance in a random direction, what shape should the lawn be to maximise the chance that the grasshopper stays on the lawn after ...

Plague likely a Stone Age arrival to central Europe

November 22, 2017

A team of researchers led by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History has sequenced the first six European genomes of the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis dating from the Late Neolithic ...

Ancient barley took high road to China

November 21, 2017

First domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, wheat and barley took vastly different routes to China, with barley switching from a winter to both a winter and summer crop during a thousand-year ...

6 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rderkis
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2017
If you hate or love President Trump and can't change how you feel about him despite his victories or losses as a president, then you are NOT objective in your views. Please don't tell us how smart you are if you can't be objective.
Zzzzzzzz
3.3 / 5 (7) Apr 25, 2017
Evidence that supports this study is the fact that I cannot read the comment made by rderkis. I have chosen not expose myself to fecal regurgitation.
PTTG
3 / 5 (4) Apr 25, 2017
I predict useful and productive discourse in this comment thread.
EmceeSquared
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2017
Which victories?

rderkis:
If you hate or love

EmceeSquared
1 / 5 (3) Apr 25, 2017
When I'm asked to listen to views that contradict both my personal experience and the views of others who arrived at them through facts, logic and compassion, they better come with facts, logic and compassion. When they don't, you can't pay me to listen to them.
rderkis
1 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2017
Logic is often the enemy of fact. The views of others is not even as important as logic. Experience trumps logic. Facts rule supreme!

Whose losses?
Make a list of someone's victories and losses based on hard facts.

For example according to CNN, immigration is down about 40%. Why would CNN lie about that when it's not in there best interest?
Hard fact - The stock market is soaring. Science/Tech stocks hit a new high today.
Hard fact- Many companies that were planing to move overseas are staying in the U.S.
Rummer not hard fact -- 10% tax on all US money stashed abroad.
Hard Fact -- Regulations and funding for many agencies cut. Results - At present unknown
Hard Fact -- Our military which protects us and most our allies - Strengthened considerably.
Rumor -- Other countries are going to be forced to pay their fair share.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.