Scientocracy

Why psychological science is relevant to policy debates—and what policies might look like if they were better aligned with human nature

Do People on the Right Feel Superior to Those on the Left?

Results of a New Survey Study

Most of us have at least one cranky old relative who not only has stronger opinions than the rest of us, but is also convinced that those opinions are superior to ours.  Not just content to believe that, say, voter ID laws are a good idea, this relative is also derisive of anyone with a different view.

Are those cranky old relatives more likely to be Republican than Democrat?  Put another way—are opinionated conservatives more certain of the superiority of their views than opinionated liberals?

Based on a new study from researchers at Duke University, the answer appears to be no.   As shown in the figure below, liberals are just as likely to believe in the superiority of their views as conservatives. What’s more, neither group appears to think that they are wildly superior to others in most domains:

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One major caveat: the study involved a highly non-representative sample of participants.  But if this finding holds true, that cranky old Republican uncle of yours is not cranky because he’s conservative.  It’s probably the fault of his DNA.

That should have you equally worried!

 

***Previously posted on Forbes***

  

Peter Ubel, M.D., author of Critical Decisions and Free Market Madness, is a physician, behavioral scientist, and Professor of Business and Public Policy at Duke University.

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