Logical reasoning: An antidote or a poison for political disagreement?

Star Trek's Spock would not be surprised: People are "illogical." New research exploring American liberals and conservatives shows that regardless of political affiliation, tribal instincts kick in and people's ability to think logically suffers when it comes to arguments related to their political belief systems. When confronted with the unsound reasoning of opposing groups, people become better able to identify flawed logic.

The research was recently published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

In their first study, the researchers studied ideological bias—the tendency to judge logical arguments based on the believability of their conclusions rather than whether or not the arguments' premises support the conclusions—effects among 924 liberals and conservatives from YourMorals.org. Visitors to the site evaluated the logical soundness of classically structured logical syllogisms supporting liberal or conservative beliefs. Of 16 syllogisms, half were structured as sound arguments, and half unsound.

On average, participants correctly judged 73% of the syllogisms. But their ability to judge correctly depended on their .

"Liberals were better at identifying flawed arguments supporting conservative beliefs and conservatives were better at identifying flawed arguments supporting liberal beliefs," says Anup Gampa (University of Virginia), a lead coauthor of the paper.

In a second study, they observed ideological belief bias effects among 1,489 participants from ProjectImplicit.org. The participants in this study were trained in logical reasoning before evaluating political syllogisms using language similar to what they might encounter in popular media.

Even with the training, the ability to analyze arguments fell into the same patterns. The authors found similar patterns of bias in a nationally representative sample containing 1,109 liberals and conservatives.

In the era of fake news, these logical fallacies can be even more potent.

"When two sides don't share a common view of even seemingly objective facts, these differences become embedded in our collective reasoning ability," says Sean Wojcik (University of California, Irvine), a lead coauthor of the paper. "Our biases drive us apart not only in our disagreements about political and ideological worldviews, but also in our understanding of logic itself."

Both Gampa and Wojcik agree that in our political world, "we might not be as vigilant as we think" about the logical grounding of our own beliefs and "we might be unreasonably harsh about the logical grounding of the belief of those we disagree with."

Despite this, being able to hear the other side can open us to our own flawed arguments, suggest the researchers.


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People think harder and produce better political arguments when their views are challenged

More information: Anup Gampa et al, (Ideo)Logical Reasoning: Ideology Impairs Sound Reasoning, Social Psychological and Personality Science (2019). DOI: 10.1177/1948550619829059
Citation: Logical reasoning: An antidote or a poison for political disagreement? (2019, April 17) retrieved 22 April 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-logical-antidote-poison-political-disagreement.html
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Apr 17, 2019
It's very encouraging that academies are finally starting to acknowledge the reality of tribalism. Politicians have been exploiting it for centuries. The same with overpopulation - malthus had only set to print what had also been a well-understood fundamental aspect of the human condition, since scribes first began recording and comparing grain allotments over generations in the ancient world.

But BECAUSE such obvious things as overpopulation, tribalism, and human domestication have been ignored for so long by the academic communities leads one to conclude that the knowledge of them has been actively suppressed. Why? Is it easier to modify behavior by making people ashamed of the innate bigotry and willful ignorance that comes with tribalism than to appeal to their reason? Is it wise to expose the true nature of social systems that exploit tribalism like democracy and capitalism?

As the article above suggests, probably not.

Bad doggie. Rolled up newspaper works best.

Apr 17, 2019
Many Republicans, if not most, only want to get rich. Many if not most Democratic Rackets followers hate their parents and want easy access to wanton, dissolute lives of only vacant wandering from one mindless diversion to another.
Before commenting on "logic", though, it may be wise to consider how many are controlled by Christopher Hichens' depraved tenet that, if the proponent of a claim doesn't provide any evidence, that automatically proves the opposite claim true.
It should also be borne in mind that no political party is an honest, philosophical system. They are all schemes to make their leaders and rich friends richer and any "philosophies" they espouse are not sound or ethical based, they are just doggerel and propaganda to promote their schemes. Any who don't realize this cannot necessarily be said to be able to judge any and all arguments as valid or not.

Apr 17, 2019
Oh, the sheer irony is strong in this one:

IThe same with overpopulation - malthus had only set to print what had also been a well-understood fundamental aspect of the human condition,


Exponential growth is a generic outcome among cellular life. In humans, not so much, education has seen to it that China will peak population 2030ish, and so all of us shortly after.

That is the observation, we can disagree what it says on "fundamental" aspects of our species. We *do* learn much more than cells do.

Is it wise to expose the true nature of social systems that exploit tribalism like democracy and capitalism?


I don't see how Enlightenment values like that "exploit" what they are explicitly against (both reaching over tribal barriers). And, BTW, what has contributed to the education (and ongoing eradication of poverty) that lead to the non-malthusian population growth we see.

Apr 17, 2019
Exponential growth is a generic outcome among cellular life. In humans, not so much, education has seen to it that China will peak population 2030ish, and so all of us shortly after.

That is the observation, we can disagree what it says on "fundamental" aspects of our species. We *do* learn much more than cells do
Im confused. What does several decades of chinese history have to do with 300,000yrs of chronic overpopulation and tribalism?

Apr 17, 2019
And, BTW, what has contributed to the education (and ongoing eradication of poverty)
Poverty is a symptom of overpopulation. Reduced growth is the only sustainable solution to poverty.
that lead to the non-malthusian population growth we see
The world wars eliminated religions stranglehold on world cultures, enabling the emancipation of women, rockefeller foundation-funded family planning efforts worldwide including the use of contraceptives and industrial-scale ABORTIONS to the tune ONE BILLION since roe v wade. RU486 is the singlle most significant factor in pop reduction to sustainable rates in developed countries.
http://www.johnst...dex.html

Elsewhere, religion-fueled overgrowth is driving war, suffering, ecological ruin. Hundreds of millions of refugees are fleeing these cultures and heading north.

And no, the academies whose propaganda you hold dear will never acknowledge these FACTS.

Apr 17, 2019
I don't see how Enlightenment values like that "exploit" what they are explicitly against (both reaching over tribal barriers)
BOTH are based on competition. Both depend on the irrationality and bigotry of tribal polarization. The article on tribalism that I refed in the other thread acknowledges this grim reality.

People dont vote with their HEADS they vote with their HEARTS. This is why the 2 systems are the easiest to corrupt. They are the most fragile and readily degenerate and collapse as soon as pops exceed the threshold of stability.

This is precisely why progressive leaders throughout the middle east like mubarak and the shah quickly became despots. It was the only way they could maintain order as the social fabric around them collapsed due to rampant, religion-driven overgrowth.

And again, your experts remain clueless (play dumb).

Apr 17, 2019
..overpopulation, tribalism, and human domestication have been ignored .. suppressed. Why? Is it easier to modify behavior by making people ashamed of the innate bigotry and willful ignorance that comes with tribalism than to appeal to their reason? Is it wise to expose the true nature of social systems that exploit tribalism like democracy and capitalism?

As the article above suggests, probably not..

I see the "dark one" has been busy, in its mirrorless, windowless cave ..er.. excuse me.. fortress of loneliness. Certainly sounds like he lives, what he believes. Total lack of domestication.

Is it easier to modify behavior by making people ashamed of the innate bigotry and willful ignorance that comes with misanthropy, than to appeal to their irrationality? Is it wise to expose the true nature of anti-social conditions that exploit ignorance, like hate and distrust?

As the post above confirms, absolutely not.

Apr 17, 2019
Logic is a method of identifying arguments that don't make any sense. Those arguments can then be eliminated and the search for facts upon which to base the logic can avoid useless churning and navel-gazing. This is the essence of reasoning: eliminate that which cannot be true as your first cut. Your search for reality will then be much shorter.

But you must be disciplined and harsher upon your own beliefs than anyone else's for this to work. And most people aren't; and this article says this is neither a conservative nor a progressive fault. Children are not taught logic nor are they taught rigor. This is a major fault in most educational systems in the world.

Any study is welcome when it shows that each kind of belief, with political ones just one flavour of them, leads to irrationality and disconnect from reality. The public at large has not yet realised the message.

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