Peter Ditto - Morals, Facts, and Libertarians: New Developments in the Science of Ideology

September 3, 2012

Host: Chris Mooney

Several times on this show, we've discussed the topic of ideological asymmetry. In other words, are people of all political persuasions equally biased, equally prone to reasoning based on their emotions to support prior commitments?

new scientific paper (PDF) has recently come out that reopens this question, so naturally, we had to invite on one of its authors. His name is Peter Ditto, and he's a social psychologist at the University of California-Irvine who has been a leader in the study of emotional, or motivated, reasoning.

At the same time, Ditto also studies the psychological foundations of political ideology more broadly. And in another recent paper, he and colleagues including Jonathan Haidt, provide a wealth of data on the personalities and motivations of people who choose to be libertarian. So we wanted to talk about that as well.

Peter Ditto is department chair and professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California-Irvine. His research focuses on motivated reasoning and how our differing moral emotions tend to impel it—and how it is involved in partisan political biases.

The scientific papers discussed in this episode are the following:


Related Episodes

Jonathan Haidt - The Righteous Mind
March 19, 2012
Dan Kahan - The Great Ideological Asymmetry Debate
February 13, 2012
Jonathan Weiler - Authoritarians Versus Reality
November 21, 2011