How does your identity influence what you believe? It’s more complicated than you think (Ben Tappin)

Partisan disagreement over policy-relevant empirical facts is a salient feature of contemporary politics. A common inference in behavioral science is that people’s motivation to reach a conclusion that confirms their political group identity causally affects their reasoning. So there’s all this disagreement because people are just following the tenets of their tribe. But according to cognitive scientist Ben Tappin (MIT), it’s not that simple.

Here’s what we talk about:

  • What explains disagreements on empirically solvable disputes like the reality of climate change? Why don’t people just converge on the facts?
  • “Cultural cognition” or “Identity-protective cognition”: How social incentives influence beliefs
  • Experimental evidence for cultural cognition
  • Maybe these results are not due to political group identities contaminating people’s reasoning. But just due to plain old boring prior beliefs
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