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Breaking News: Hidden Biases Affect Political Views

This article sits atop the most e-mailed articles list on the Washington Post website this afternoon. Shankar Vedantam reports on groundbreaking psychological research revealing that "partisans stubbornly discount any information that challenges their preexisting beliefs." Here's a discussion of the study's methodology:


Emory University psychologist Drew Westen put self-identified Democratic and Republican partisans in brain scanners and asked them to evaluate negative information about various candidates. Both groups were quick to spot inconsistency and hypocrisy -- but only in candidates they opposed.

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Brain scans? Geez, you didn't need to go to all that trouble. Just listen to the conversation during a Republican-sponsored SOTU watch party, eavesdrop on some Democratic SOTU festivites, and compare.

Study Ties Political Leanings to Hidden Biases [WP]

State of the Union Watch Parties: Isn't that a contradiction in terms? [Slate]

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