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Education is Related to Greater Ideological Prejudice

By: Sean Stevens, HxA Research Director Everyone knows that education makes people more tolerant, right? Well, yes, if you focus on the traditional targets of intolerance that are generally studied in the social sciences, such as members of ethnic, racial, or religious outgroups. A college education seems to make people more cosmopolitan and less prejudiced...

Race and the Race for the White House: On Social Research in the Age of Trump

Al-Gharbi argues that when research disparages Trump and his supporters on weak evidentiary grounds, the credibility and viability of the broader social research enterprise is called into question as well. Many on the right already view the humanities and social sciences as essentially “partisan propaganda,” he reminds,  and have called for defunding social research on these grounds. It is therefore imperative that research about these already-skeptical constituents be as fair-minded and rigorous as possible. 

The Skeptics Are Wrong Part 2: Speech Culture on Campus is Changing

In this essay we show that the skeptics went wrong by basing their case primarily on GSS data about members of the Millennial generation. We explain why the debate hinges not on Millennials but on the generation after them––iGen, or Gen Z, who began replacing Millennials in college in 2013. We draw on a variety of datasets to show that iGen is different, and that there is indeed reason for concern that things are changing on campus. We address three questions: 1) Is the speech climate (i.e., willingness to speak up) worsening on college campuses, overall, in recent years? We show that it is. 2) Is there a “politically correct” range of viewpoints on campus? We show that there is. 3) Which side of the spectrum is more willing to use illiberal tactics? We show that left and right used to be similar, before 2015, in their desire to “disinvite” speakers, but since 2015 the right has used that tactic much less often while the left has used it much more often, and has also conducted all of the shout-downs that have occurred since 2015.  In conclusion, the skeptics are wrong.

That’s Not Funny: Instrument Validation of the Concern for Political Correctness Scale

The research summarized below by Strauts and Blanton (2015), documents the development of their concern for political correctness scale, as well as two studies validating the predictive utility of that scale.  Briefly, Strauts and Blanton (2015) reported that their concern for political correctness measure consists of two factors, an emotion factor (which measures the likelihood of experiencing a negative emotional response after hearing politically incorrect language) and an activism factor (which measures a willingness to correct others who use politically incorrect language). 

Intellectual Humility and Openness to the Opposing View

The results of Porter and Schumann (2017) have direct relevance for Heterodox Academy and the OpenMind Platform.  One of our hypotheses regarding the OpenMind Platform is that it can increase intellectual humility and openness, and that these increases will then have downstream effects on communication between individuals who have opposing views on an issue.  By demonstrating one way to, at least temporarily, increase intellectual humility, Porter and Schumann (2017) have provided a valuable first test of one of OpenMind’s main hypotheses.

Caught in the Nexus: A Comparative and Longitudinal Analysis of Public Trust in the Press

These findings suggest political systems that lack ideological diversity are at risk for widespread declines in trust of long-standing societal institutions, including, but not limited to, the press.  At first blush, these findings do not seem directly relevant to Heterodox Academy and its core issue of viewpoint diversity in the academy.  Yet, like the press, American universities comprise a long-standing social institution which has also experienced a decline in public trust and confidence (see also here and here).  The overall decline in political trust evident at the societal level may also have an impact on trust in universities.  Increasing ideological homogeneity among the professorate (Bonica, Chilton, Rozema, & Sen, 2017; Duarte, Crawford, Stern, Haidt, Jussim, & Tetlock, 2015; Honeycutt & Freberg, 2016; Langbert, Quain, & Klein, 2016) may contribute to societal level declines in political trust and, thus, fuel the anti-elite sentiment hinted at by Hanitzsch et al.

The Polarizing Effects of Online Partisan Criticism: Evidence from Two Experiments

We conclude that online partisan criticism likely has contributed to rising affective and social polarization in recent years between Democrats and Republicans in the United States, and perhaps between partisan and ideological group members in other developed democracies as well. We close by discussing the troubling implications of these findings in light of continuing attempts by autocratic regimes and other actors to influence democratic elections via false identities on social media.

The Wisdom of Polarized Crowds

Sean Stevens is HxA’s Research Director The founding of Heterodox Academy had roots in a collaboration between five social psychologists and one sociologist that produced a featured paper, and 33 responses to it, in Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  A number of specific recommendations to improve social psychology were made, but the main thesis was that..

The Campus Expression Survey: Summary of New Data

By Sean Stevens, HxA’s Research Director Back in July, I presented some preliminary data from our Campus Expression Survey (CES).  The CES was developed by members1 of Heterodox Academy in response to students and professors who say they feel like they are “walking on eggshells”, not just in the classroom but in informal interactions on campus..

The Greater Male Variability Hypothesis – An Addendum to our post on the Google Memo

In this addendum we focus on the Greater Male Variability Hypothesis – the idea that men are more variable than women on a variety of abilities, interests, and personality traits – and the possibility that males are overrepresented in the upper and lower tails of such distributions.  This hypothesis was first proposed by Ellis over 100 years ago, in 1894.  It is also the hypothesis that Lawrence Summers was referring to in 2005 when, at the National Bureau of Economic Research Conference, he weighed in on the gender gap in STEM professions.