Study: Conservatives dig in when confronted with facts

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    Feb 04, 2011 3:08 AM GMT
    This is the reason why Fox is so pernicious.
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/064786861r21m257/fulltext.html
    Our results thus contribute to the literature on correcting misperceptions in three important respects. First, we provide a direct test of corrections on factual beliefs about politics and show that responses to corrections about controversial political issues vary systematically by ideology. Second, we show that corrective information in news reports may fail to reduce misperceptions and can sometimes increase them for the ideological group most likely to hold those misperceptions. Finally, we establish these findings in the context of contemporary political issues that are salient to ordinary voters.

    The backfire effects that we found seem to provide further support for the growing literature showing that citizens engage in “motivated reasoning.” While our experiments focused on assessing the effectiveness of corrections, the results show that direct factual contradictions can actually strengthen ideologically grounded factual beliefs—an empirical finding with important theoretical implications. Previous research on motivated reasoning has largely focused on the evaluation and usage of factual evidence in constructing opinions and evaluating arguments (e.g. Taber and Lodge 2006). By contrast, our research—the first to directly measure the effectiveness of corrections in a realistic context—suggests that it would be valuable to directly study the cognitive and affective processes that take place when subjects are confronted with discordant factual information. Two recent articles take important steps in this direction. Gaines et al. (2007) highlight the construction of interpretations of relevant facts, including those that may be otherwise discomforting, as a coping strategy, while Redlawsk et al. (forthcoming) argue that motivated reasoners who receive sufficiently incongruent information may become anxious and shift into more rational updating behavior.

    It would also be helpful to test additional corrections of liberal misperceptions. Currently, all of our backfire results come from conservatives—a finding that may provide support for the hypothesis that conservatives are especially dogmatic (Greenberg and Jonas 2003; Jost et al. 2003a, b). However, there is a great deal of evidence that liberals (e.g. the stem cell experiment above) and Democrats (e.g., Bartels 2002, pp. 133–137; Bullock 2007; Gerber and Huber 2010) also interpret factual information in ways that are consistent with their political predispositions. Without conducting more studies, it is impossible to determine if liberals and conservatives react to corrections differently.33


    http://www.badscience.net/2010/05/evidence-based-smear-campaignsIf your goal is to move opinion, then this depressing finding suggests that smears work, and what’s more, corrections don’t challenge them much: because for people who already agree with you, it only make them agree even more.


    Now it's up to researchers to prove that the same thing exists in self-described liberals.
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    Feb 04, 2011 3:38 AM GMT
    A service to help the OP:
    http://neuropolitics.org/Anxiety-Depression-and-Goal-Seeking-in-Conservatives-Liberals-Moderates.htm
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    Feb 04, 2011 3:42 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidA service to help the OP:
    http://neuropolitics.org/Anxiety-Depression-and-Goal-Seeking-in-Conservatives-Liberals-Moderates.htm


    That's what's known as a non sequitur.

    Of course, it would be shocking to learn that people who are more empathic experience more anxiety and depression. What a world...