Debiasing and Depolarizing Political Discourse

How do liberals and conservatives differ? Existing evidence suggests clear divergences on cognitive style and sociopolitical attitudes. However, theories such as the rigidity of the right hypothesis (Adorno et al., 1950; Tetlock, 1983) and the ideologue hypothesis (Rokeach, 1956) make incompatible predictions. The present research aims to reconcile these incongruities by employing measures that assess (a) cognitive style/open-mindedness, (b) perspective-taking, and (c) relationships between characteristics of procedural justice. Study 1 employed real-world arguments on highly politicized issues to examine rhetorical features that influence an article’s persuasiveness. We found evidence for the rigidity of the right hypothesis. In Study 2, participants listened to and summarized arguments we constructed of varying integrative complexity for and against race-based affirmative action in the context of a fictitious court case. Liberals tended to score higher on the Cognitive Reflection Task and summarized the arguments at a higher quality with greater integrative complexity. Conservatives tended to score higher on the actively open-minded thinking scale and exhibited greater attitudinal shifts than liberals. Liberals appeared to view integrative complexity as mere window dressing while conservatives were highly influenced by experimental manipulations of this measure. These nuanced findings suggest context and ideological spectrum-dependent factors that influence attitudes toward politically polarizing issues.

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A Global Assessment of Personality & Sociopolitical Attitudes

This is the largest cross-national study of personality and sociopolitical attitudes as of August 2017. These findings contribute to the growing body of literature on the underlying personalities and preferences of conservatives and liberals. It also adds to a greater understanding of the cause for the current surge in populism sweeping across the Western world. By employing three measures of political orientation and two widely used measures of personality, we ensured construct and convergent validity. The divergence between liberals and conservatives on openness to experience suggests that people, regardless of their political participation, hold stable ideological preferences that manifest into measurable attitudinal differences toward social equality and immigrants.

This study had three motivating aims: (1) to further dispel the “end-of-ideology” notion by conducting the largest cross-national survey of political ideology and personality, (2) to determine whether psychological dispositions apply to people’s self-perception, and (3) to investigate right/left-wing attitudes toward social equality and immigrants.

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The Risks of Rurality: Novel Trends in Non-Hispanic White Mortality in Pennsylvania

The adverse economic and mortality trends affecting middle-aged non-Hispanic whites have now been widely reported (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012). In 2015, Case and Deaton revealed this jarring reversal in the long-term mortality decline of middle-aged non-Hispanic whites (henceforth whites) across the United States between 1999 and 2013 (Case & Deaton, 2015). Absent from their analysis was a comparison between rural and urban white populations, which exhibit significant differences in cause-specific mortality (Snyder, 2016). This rural-urban gradient extends notably to suicide mortality rates that rise with increasing levels of rurality (Singh & Siahpush, 2002). In this report, I provide evidence for Case and Deaton’s conclusions on the reverse transition occurring in white populations at the micro-level in the state of Pennsylvania. I then delve into the finer geographical and racial mortality gradients at infancy, childhood ages 1-9, and midlife ages 45-54 to show profound differences in mortality and courses of death between rural and urban Pennsylvania communities.

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At the Epicenter of the Heroin Epidemic

Empowering the neglected begins with us, the empowered electorate. Catalyzing change calls for individuals working resourcefully within corporations, nonprofits, and the government to break the status quo. In this effort, the private sector could make deliberate investments in inner-city communities by creating technical training programs, internships, and employment opportunities. This would not only provide valuable opportunities for economic advancement for community members, but also a deeply loyal workforce for companies. Nonprofits should continue their focus on the underserved, but also strive to make their voices heard by public officials and the public. Government workers and elected officials should cut through the tangles of bureaucracy to serve in the public’s interest.

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