A new paper by Małgorzata Kossowska, Paulina Szwed, and Gabriela Czarnek published in Political Behavior!

posted in: Papers | 0
In this research, we tested the hypothesis that ideology predicts the accuracy of factual beliefs. Specifically, we expected that right- (vs. left-) wing ideology would be associated with lower accuracy when assessing policy-relevant facts congenial to left– and right–wing beliefs. However, we predicted that an open-minded thinking style would then moderate this link between ideology and factual accuracy; in other words, people measuring highly in terms of an open-minded thinking style would be more accurate in their assessments than those measuring at lower levels. This moderation would especially be the case if they held right-wing beliefs, as these are beliefs that cause people to be particularly more prone to forming inaccurate factual beliefs. We found that right-wing ideology compared to its left-wing equivalent was indeed associated with increased inaccuracy. Consistent with the hypothesis, at low levels of active open-minded thinking (AOT), right- (vs. left-wing) ideology was related to a greater degree of inaccuracy in assessments. However, at higher levels of AOT, the effects of political ideology were non-significant. What is interesting, the effects of ideology on accuracy seem to be stronger during the pandemic conditions compared to beforehand. What is worthy of notice here is that active open-minded thinking may act as a buffer against inaccurate beliefs, and thus mitigate identity protective cognition. Based on these results, one could consider designing interventions eliciting an open-minded mode of thinking which might potentially be effective in reducing cognitive bias and encouraging people to be more thoughtful and attentive to information already acquired, which may in turn improve their estimation performance.