Ideology, motivated reasoning, and cognitive reflection
Decision scientists have identified various plausible sources of ideological polarization over climate change, gun violence, national security, and like issues that turn on empirical evidence. This paper describes a study of three of them: the predominance of heuristic-driven information processing by members of the public; ideologically motivated reasoning; and the cognitive-style correlates of political conservativism. The study generated both observational and experimental data inconsistent with the hypothesis that political conservatism is distinctively associated with either unreflective thinking or motivated reasoning. Conservatives did no better or worse than liberals on the Cognitive Reflection Test (Frederick, 2005), an objective measure of information-processing dispositions associated with cognitive biases. In addition, the study found that ideologically motivated reasoning is not a consequence of over-reliance on heuristic or intuitive forms of reasoning generally. On the contrary, subjects who scored highest in cognitive reflection were the most likely to display ideologically motivated cognition. These findings corroborated an alternative hypothesis, which identifies ideologically motivated cognition as a form of information processing that promotes individuals' interests in forming and maintaining beliefs that signify their loyalty to important affinity groups. The paper discusses the practical significance of these findings, including the need to develop science communication strategies that shield policy-relevant facts from the influences that turn them into divisive symbols of political identity.
Volume (Year): 8 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
|Contact details of provider:|| |
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Christine Jolls & Cass R. Sunstein, 2006.
"Debiasing through Law,"
The Journal of Legal Studies,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 199-242, 01.
- Christine Jolls & Cass R. Sunstein, 2005. "Debiasing through Law," NBER Working Papers 11738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Hoppe, Eva I. & Kusterer, David J., 2011. "Behavioral biases and cognitive reflection," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 97-100, February.
- Eva I. Hoppe & David J. Kusterer, 2010. "Behavioral biases and cognitive reflection," Cologne Graduate School Working Paper Series 01-03, Cologne Graduate School in Management, Economics and Social Sciences.
- George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics and Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753.
- Boschetti, Fabio & Richert, Claire & Walker, Iain & Price, Jennifer & Dutra, Leo, 2012. "Assessing attitudes and cognitive styles of stakeholders in environmental projects involving computer modelling," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 247(C), pages 98-111.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
- Adam Corner & Lorraine Whitmarsh & Dimitrios Xenias, 2012. "Uncertainty, scepticism and attitudes towards climate change: biased assimilation and attitude polarisation," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 114(3), pages 463-478, October.
- Uriel Haran & Ilana Ritov & Barbara A. Mellers, 2013. "The role of actively open-minded thinking in information acquisition, accuracy, and calibration," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(3), pages 188-201, May.
- Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1449-1475, December.
- Sunstein, Cass R, 2003. "Terrorism and Probability Neglect," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 26(2-3), pages 121-136, March-May.
- Hillman, Arye L., 2010. "Expressive behavior in economics and politics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 403-418, December. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)