What’s the Latest Development?
A recently published PLOS ONE study examined the moral beliefs of three self-described groups — liberals, moderates and conservatives — about themselves and about their ideological opponents. Participants were asked to complete two sets of surveys: one describing their own moral attitudes and one offering what they thought a “typical liberal” or “typical conservative” might say. The research team then compared the assumptions to the answers provided by actual liberals and conservatives, as well as to those of a separate representative sample of Americans.
What’s the Big Idea?
Of the three groups, the study reports that liberals were more likely to stereotype conservatives and exaggerate the political differences between the two groups. It also showed that, more so than conservatives, liberals tended to place their own peers on a higher pedestal, assuming a level of “ideological purity” that didn’t bear out in reality based on the survey responses. This suggests that “liberals tend to underestimate the degree to which their fellow liberals take…’conservative’ values into account when making moral evaluations,” implying that the two groups are likely much closer to each other than they think.
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