October 30, 2014

"Is Social Psychology Biased Against Republicans?"

Apparently, it is.

54 comments:

RecChief said...

NO shit.
next qustion

CStanley said...

Haidt is awesome. His books are must reads for anyone interested in how people's minds work.

Joe said...

Social Psychology is biased against reality.

Anonymous said...

CStanley is right. Haidt is awesome.

rehajm said...

"Is (Insert academic discipline besides finance here) Biased Against Republicans?"

Bob Ellison said...

Popes poop in funny hats.

Peter said...

" “We’re social psychologists,” Haidt said. “We’re in the best possible position to understand and address hidden bias.

Or perhaps you're like a fish trying to research what the world would be like in which everything wasn't always surrounded by water. Realizing that there are places which are not underwater is an essential first step, but without incorporating the perspective of those mysterious dry-landers you're probably not going to get very far toward understanding these non-watery worlds.

n.n said...

Psychologists jumped the shark a long time ago. Their art has been in a progressive decline since they decided to selectively normalize behaviors congruent to their partisan or personal orientation.

MadisonMan said...

It would be nice if all Deans read that.

Too much agreement kills a chat. An excellent statement.

Matthew Sablan said...

I'm not surprised.

n.n said...

This must be an expose of the anti-social "choice" orientation. And people thought human rights was an ambiguous concept perpetuated by emotional appeals, false myth, and partisan leverage. That said, I wonder how psychologists characterize individuals who advocate a dysfunctional fitness function.

Comparative Disadvantage said...

Simple correlations such as wage gap and gender/race proportions are regularly held up as evidence of systemic discrimination, but a liberal Harvard professor takes issue with the claim that a 14 to 1 representation ratio suggests bias? That alone proves bias. Rest assured, without even checking, this same person supports affirmative action on the basis of a much smaller underrepresentation.

Larry J said...

And in other surprising news, the sun rose in the East this morning. Academia is a liberal playground. No conservatives need apply. And to think, some universities wonder why the flow of taxpayer money to fund their liberal wonderland is declining. They go out of their way to piss off (or on) half of America and then wonder why they aren't loved anymore.

Nonapod said...

Conservatives typically aren't attracted to the studies of human behavior because of the general impression of imprecision in such studies. Conservatives tend to be attracted to fields that deal with problems that have clear solutions requiring direct action. Human behavior and emotionality are obviously not those things.

Alexander said...

Years ago, reality had a liberal bias. That was what all the really cool kids were parroting, at any rate.

If they've been forced to retreat to the holdfast of SocPsych, then the in-between years have been lean indeed.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Over all, close to nineteen per cent reported that they would have a bias against a conservative-leaning paper; twenty-four per cent, against a conservative-leaning grant application; fourteen per cent, against inviting a conservative to a symposium; and thirty-seven and a half per cent, against choosing a conservative as a future colleague. They persisted in saying that no discrimination existed, yet their theoretical behaviors belied that idealized reality."

-- Any other field that had 30 some percent say they wouldn't hire someone of a given religious belief would be protested and boycott.

tim in vermont said...

Haidt is a self-described liberal who spent time as an anthropologist in a deeply conservative culture in India. He realized that he had to set aside his disgust with conservative thinking and he soon learned that many of the issues were on his own side.

He has conducted studies that show what almost any internet thread will show, that liberals are all but incapable of recapitulating conservative arguments, even just to rebut them. Liberals simply cannot understand how conservatives think.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are quite good at restating liberal arguments, and are far better at understanding liberal thought than liberals are to understand conservative thought.

Haidt's description of the classic liberal argument, which you see so often in comment threads everywhere is "Reject first! Ask rhetorical questions later!"

That bit about there not being conservatives on social science because liberals are smarter is pretty funny too! Try that argument as to why their are so few women in advanced mathematics and you will get kicked out of your cushy job at Harvard!

William said...

That recent video of the girl walking down the street shows that blacks and Hispanics are more aggressive in their cat calls. That syncs with the experience of anyone who has ever lived in NYC. Nonetheless, this is the kind of obervation that can only be made in anonymity. Any public figure who said such a thing out loud would swiftly become a pariah. Any social scientist looking for a grant to further study this phenomenon would be well advised not to hold their breath. ......As a general rule, observations and studies that reflect on the bad behavior of whites are considered sociology. Any observations or studies that are damaging to blacks are, per se, racist and fraudulent.

damikesc said...

Are all soft sciences biased against conservatives?

Yup.

Which is why conservative legislatures should ban all funding of those programs.

Any other field that had 30 some percent say they wouldn't hire someone of a given religious belief would be protested and boycott.

I'm still trying to figure out why conservatives are, literally, the ONLY group in higher education whose lack of representation is because "they just don't want to do it".

I've never heard a lib prof say that about any other group in existence.

Revenant said...

Is Social Psychology Biased Against Republicans?

No, but social psychologists are.

Matthew Sablan said...

"They just don't want to do it. And the ones that do, we probably wouldn't hire anyway."

Henry said...

tim in vt wrote: Haidt is a self-described liberal who spent time as an anthropologist in a deeply conservative culture in India. He realized that he had to set aside his disgust with conservative thinking and he soon learned that many of the issues were on his own side.

That sounds interesting.

Currently I'm reading ...
Local Knowledge: Further Essays In Interpretive Anthropology by Clifford Geertz. Geertz has some very incisive points to make about the ability of outsiders (anthropologists) to truly understand a culture -- with the corollary that our ability to put aside the conventions of our own culture is much more limited than we pretend.

tim in vermont said...

What makes people vote Republican - Jonathon Haidt.

Don't let the title put you off.

Freeman Hunt said...

Those of you recommending Haidt, if a person were going to try one book of his, which would you recommend?

Freeman Hunt said...

On which side is thoroughgoing skepticism more respected? (Notice respected not welcome. It's welcome by certain individuals but not by any group.)

mccullough said...

Thankfully we have the media to keep the bias in the academy from spreading to the rest of society.

SGT Ted said...

Another "No shit, Sherlock." moment.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

MadisonMan said...

Too much agreement kills a chat. An excellent statement.

I agree

Big Mike said...

A friend once described a psychology convention as being "worse than Comic-Con or COMDEX" for percentage of attendees who have Aspergers.

Just sayin'

Comparative Disadvantage said...

A liberal SocPsych professor responds to Haidt's "what makes people vote Republican" with essentially "People who vote Republican are idiots", thereby reaffirming Haidt's point: liberals are not capable of understanding a conservative viewpoint.

SGT Ted said...

Conservatives typically aren't attracted to the studies of human behavior because of the general impression of imprecision in such studies.

I call bullshit. Based on what evidence?

CStanley said...

@Freeman-
I've read The Righteous Mind and The Happiness Hypothesis and found both of them enjoyable and informative.

The first one is more about politics (the intersection of morality and politics.) Even if you're disinterested on that basis, I still think it's worthwhile. I read it first and I think it formed the basis of my respect for the author's intellectual integrity.

I just clicked over to the article that Tim in Vermont linked to above, and you could probably get a sense for that from it if you wanted to start there.

Freeman Hunt said...

The first one is more about politics (the intersection of morality and politics.) Even if you're disinterested on that basis,

No, I'm interested on that basis. Those are the two books I'm deciding between. I'll just get the first one. ("What difference, at this point, does it make?")

I read the article Tim linked already and liked it.

Fritz said...

Almost as bad as the environmental sciences.

Michael K said...

" Conservatives tend to be attracted to fields that deal with problems that have clear solutions requiring direct action. Human behavior and emotionality are obviously not those things."

The possibility that some of these things are measurable seems not to have occurred to you. I spent a year at Dartmouth after I retired because I was interested in whether we could measure medical quality and how to do it. That's pretty nebulous. The traditional concept was that it was like pornography, "I know it when I see it."

I figured out what looked like a reasonable thing to try but couldn't get any support. I went back to teaching.

An excellent example of social science that is banned from academic research is the fate of children raised by gay couples. There is some disturbing evidence that all is not well but it is a topic that is invisible.

Michael K said...

The Haidt essay was worthwhile for this line:

" The basic social unit is not the individual, it is the hierarchically structured family, which serves as a model for other institutions. "

That is what we have lost in most of our society.

rehajm said...

Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies?

Only someone isolated form economic reality would pose this question.

Ann Althouse said...

"The Righteous Mind" is the one that I put in my Kindle after someone I trusted recommended it. I need to read it!

n.n said...

Well, this is fun. Psychologists analyzing people analyzing psychologists. The view from the ivory towers is clearly unbiased and certainly unprejudiced, right? Anyway, projection and displacement is clearly a bipartisan activity. I wonder who is right.

Michael K:

The family composed of a father, mother, and their children, is self-evidently the first level of social organization engendered by the natural order. Unfortunately, for authoritarian-minded individuals, it also underlies tribalism, and is therefore a powerful competing interest to minority efforts that seek to consolidate capital and control. This is the impetus for the war on heterosexual relationships, religion (i.e. moral philosophy or self-moderating, responsible behavior), individual dignity, unmanaged evolutionary fitness, and human lives when they are uniquely vulnerable.

rehajm:

Dissociation of risk is the opiate of the masses and elite. Not only is it extremely addictive, but also contains a potent aphrodisiac that attracts men, women, and even children to consume it.

CStanley said...

Definitely read, and blog it!

TML said...

Isn't this classic question begging?

“Haidt fails to grapple meaningfully with the question of why nearly all of the best minds in science find liberal ideas to be closer to the mark with respect to evolution, human nature, mental health, close relationships, intergroup relations, ethics, social justice, conflict resolution, environmental sustainability, and so on.”

Michael K said...

"Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies?"

Because they are smarter and understand economics better than "social psychologists ?"

Thomas Frank sold books making this argument but only lasted on the Wall Street Journal for about 6 months.

Sam L. said...

Well. social psychologists are, so yes, obviously.

YoungHegelian said...

The N.Y.U. political psychologist John Jost made the point even more strongly, calling Haidt’s remarks “armchair demography.” Jost wrote, “Haidt fails to grapple meaningfully with the question of why nearly all of the best minds in science find liberal ideas to be closer to the mark with respect to evolution, human nature, mental health, close relationships, intergroup relations, ethics, social justice, conflict resolution, environmental sustainability, and so on.”

It's amazing that a scholar at a major university could say something that positively Soviet without even a trace of irony!

"I believe what I do because it corresponds to reality." And what? Everyone else believes what they do because they think it'll allow them to instantaneously transport to the far side of Mars? Who doesn't think what his views correspond to reality?

I'm sorry, but as a philosophy guy, there are times I would work some of these guys over with a Louisville Slugger if I knew the cops would look the other way. A horrible & non-Christian thing to say, I know, but I think these guys get paid to work genuine evil on the minds of the young.

Jupiter said...

Astrology also. And dope-dealing. You won't find many conservatives dealing dime bags of heroin on street corners.

Jupiter said...

"...the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way. When Republicans say that Democrats "just don't get it," this is the "it" to which they refer."

Uh, no, I'm afraid not. When I say that Democrats "just don't get it", I'm referring to integer arithmetic. They seem to be incapable of understanding that the government can't give someone something unless it first takes it away from someone else.

Just Mike said...

No conservative has ever breached the deeping wall...nor set foot inside the Hornburg.

tim in vermont said...

The deeping wall thing sounds a lot like the denouement to Star Wars.

n.n said...

Jupiter:

American conservatives are family and community-oriented. This is still largely true in the wake of government intervention through entitlement and welfare programs that provided a progressive disincentive for establishing family and community relationships.

Revenant said...

Haidt fails to grapple meaningfully with the question of why nearly all of the best minds in science find liberal ideas to be closer to the mark

That's laying the groundwork for a "no true Scotsman" argument, I suspect.

What I find interesting is that the percentage of left-wingers in an academic field is inversely proportional to how much it relies on empirical data and testing. Were left-wing ideas more inherently in touch with reality than other ideas, one would expect the reverse to be true.

Achilles said...

Hah! If you think Psychology has a liberal bias just wait til you dig into the average Sociology Department. I had a room mate who brought home one of her writing assignments from her sociology 101 intro class. Her english wasn't very good so we usually helped her out. It had you take word problems and categorize the participants as Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.

But if you want to get to the heart of the beast Education Departments are the best liberal slimepits.

Carl said...

That's a good article, and I wouldn't have found it on my own because I normally consider The New Yorker worthless birdcage liner, full of tedious sententious pap. So thanks very much for the link.

I have to say I've always been a little surprised that social psychologists appear less biased against conservative (or Republican, they not being the same) thought than most other of the social studies. The sociologists are out-and-out Stalinists, the psychologists are fans of whatever the latest narcissist fad might be, and even the anthropologists are boringly lefty.

So what makes the social psychologists different? Why are they a smidge more open to the idea that Rousseau is wrong and Chesterton right? I have no idea, but I speculate that the experience probing the disconnect between what people say they're about and what they do might make one distrust the ideology of the theoreticians and appreciate the ideology that presupposes Original Sin and argues the plebian human indeed needs unsophisticated social flying buttresses to keep his ethics upright.

Anonymous said...

The main result of the social "sciences" is the production of little fascists.

(In my country a Social "Science" BS-degree gains the bureaucrats a higher pay-grade and/or promotion)

Anonymous said...

How stupid do you have to be to be a leftist? So stupid you'd say something like the final sentence below:


True, there was little doubt that conservatives in the world of psychology are few. A 2012 survey of social psychologists throughout the country found a fourteen-to-one ratio of Democrats to Republicans. But where were the hard numbers that pointed to bias, be it in the selection of professionals or the publication process, skeptics asked? Anecdotal evidence, the Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert pointed out, proved nothing. Maybe it was the case that liberals simply wanted to become professors more often than conservatives. “Liberals may be more interested in new ideas, more willing to work for peanuts, or just more intelligent,” he wrote.

(I've found a city area where a black is 1/14th as likely to get a loan to buy a home as is a white home buyer. How many of the people defending "Social Psychology" from charges of bias would find that prima facia proof that there was racial discrimination going on?)