1. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Ideology and Cognitive Ability

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Steerpike, Aug 5, 2013.

    Quite often, you'll hear one side of the political aisle (liberal v. conservative) making the claim that the other side just doesn't think as clearly, or are more subject to bias, or are less able to understand complex argument, and so on (at least, that happens in the U.S. among political groups). The idea is silly on its face, in my view, but nevertheless it has adherents.

    This article refers to a study that found, not surprisingly (to me), no difference in intuitive/deliberative thinking among ideologies. They did see polarization based on cultural identity, and that more deliberative thinkers were even more polarized by cultural identity.

    I thought it would be interesting to share, since I believe people are vastly more alike than different and that the capacity for thought and analysis is about the same across political spectra.

    The article is here: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/08/public-divide-on-climate-change-right-wing-nature-or-human-nature/

    The actual published paper is here: http://journal.sjdm.org/13/13313/jdm13313.html

    Of course, the issue isn't settled and I'm sure people will continue to argue about this, but on an anecdotal level, anyone who has had significant interaction with people across political ideologies and cultural backgrounds will likely feel that the results here are about right.
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, I've found that the more vested a person is in any ideology, the less willing they are to think straight or consider all facts.
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I agree completely. I've seen it many times before, people using an ideology or a belief as really just an excuse to behave like an infant.
     
  4. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, I think that might be true and it might jive with what was reported in the study. The authors talk about protection of cultural identity, and protection or maintenance of status or affiliation with a group, as a significant factor. If that's true, it seems to me that the more vested a person is in ideology, the more strongly they're going to feel the need to protect that association.
     
  5. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    Perhaps you will find this interesting. I haven't researched this much, but there seems to be a link between the structure of someone's brain, and their political affiliation. Here's a link on it.

    http://www.livescience.com/27213-brain-scans-predict-political-party.html
     
  6. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I think your 50% right here. The other 50% is found in what I didn't read in your post, IMO. There are a number of people who refuse to engage in an ideology or take a stand on something because of a pseudo-intellectual belief that by acting as the doubter in every situation, they are somehow free of bias or blind spots. The result is someone that carries himself/herself as intellectually and/or morally superior.

    That leaves the last group, those that recognize they have a bias, admit it up front, and then engaged in a discussion to learn both about their own bias, and about what others believe about any given situation.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You are absolutely right. I had never even thought of that actually. I myself, I do have an ideology - I'm a Libertarian, though not in the American sense. If I said I was a Left-Wing Libertarian I'm not sure what that would mean to you, but that's how I define myself. This ideology isn't sacred, if something came along to show me the entire thing is a load of crock I would have no problem leaving it behind me. I've done it before, I can certainly do it again. I just can't think about having my lot in with anything, my brain just doesn't function that way.
     
  8. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    While I have encountered a number of people that fall into the category that is bolded, I disagree that skepticism is a form of bias or some sort of intellectual/moral high ground, but a model used to understand an ideology from a stand-point that's free from the blind spots of ideology.
     
  9. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think there's anything wrong with playing the 'doubter'. Assuming that makes one somehow superior - yes. But not taking things 'on faith' is not automatically making oneself superior. And sometimes, playing devil's advocate is seen as a way of protecting or enhancing the ideology one embraces - find the flaws, recognize them, and work to fix them. This, versus just blindly accepting that everything is just fine the way it is. It's healthy.
     
  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have to wonder if the local political climate where I live falls under this dynamic...

    Some of you may know that just a few days ago there was yet another referendum before the U.S. Senate as regards the status of Puerto Rico. Yet again the representatives for the three parties, Popular, Progresista and Indipendentista, dragged out their tired platforms of we want status quo but give us more, we want statehood, we want sovereign independence, respectively.

    When friends from outside PR ask me about the possibility of any of these changes, I first feel shame for how much money is spent on these stupid referendums, and secondly I feel a kind of mute frustration because there is a cultural facet that is next to impossible to explain. This cultural facet has to do with what [MENTION=18889]Steerpike[/MENTION] expressed concerning an emotional investment in cultural preservation, which I assume refers to the political dogma as culture (which it is). If change happens as regards status, it won't happen because we in PR chose it. It will only happen if imposed by the US. From this side of the lens, from within PR, I can tell you that no one is really focused on any kind of change. It's all just a vie for stage-time and the microphone. Ask any person, from any of the three accepted allegiances, what kind of economic infrastructure they would use or create were they to win the argument and all you get is silence or a quick verbal tap-dance back to party dogma that answers nothing.
     
  11. DPVP
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    DPVP Active Member

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    i think their are intelligent people on both sides of an issue. to paraphrase a friend that use to be anti gun " its not that one side is smart or the other brilliant, its that one side can never imagian one situation, and the other thinks about it"
     

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