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People’s ability to think logically suffers due to their political beliefs: Study

People’s ability to think logically suffers due to their political beliefs: Study

by Shruthi Venkatesh April 26 2019, 1:12 pm Estimated Reading Time: 1 min, 59 secs

A recent study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, shows that people’s ability to think logically suffers when they are faced with arguments that go against their political belief systems. The Indian Express gives a detailed report of the study that strong political beliefs may hamper ability to think logically.

It also shows that when people are confronted with the unsound reasoning of opposing groups, they are able to identify flawed logic in a better way.

The researchers from the University of Virginia and University of California, Irvine in the US conducted the study among 924 American liberals and conservatives from a website YourMorals.org. Visitors to the site evaluated the logical soundness of classically structured logical syllogisms supporting liberal or conservative beliefs. Of 16 syllogisms, half were structured as sound arguments, and half unsound – reports the study. On average, participants correctly judged 73 per cent of the syllogisms. However, their ability to judge correctly depended on their political views.

Study reveals that strong political beliefs may hamper ability to think logically

“Liberals were better at identifying flawed arguments supporting conservative beliefs and conservatives were better at identifying flawed arguments supporting liberal beliefs,” said Anup Gampa from the University of Virginia.

The researchers also observed ideological belief bias effects among 1,489 participants from ProjectImplicit.org. The participants in this study were trained in logical reasoning before conducting the practical methods.

Even with the training, the ability to analyze arguments fell into the same patterns. They found similar patterns of bias in a nationally representative sample containing 1,109 liberals and conservatives.

“When two sides don’t share a common view of even seemingly objective facts, these differences become embedded in our collective reasoning ability,” said Sean Wojcik from the University of California, Irvine.

“Our biases drive us apart not only in our disagreements about political and ideological worldviews, but also in our understanding of logic itself,” said Wojcik.

Researchers said not that in our political world, we might not be as very attentive as we think about the logical grounding of our own beliefs and “we might be unreasonably harsh about the logical grounding of the belief of those we disagree with.” The researchers also stated that despite all this, being able to hear the other side of the opinion can open us to our own flawed arguments.



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