Ideological asymmetries in conformity, desire for shared reality, and the spread of misinformation

Jost, John T; van der Linden, Sander; Panagopoulos, Costas; Hardin, Curtis D
Current Opinion in Psychology

Ideological belief systems arise from epistemic, existential, and relational motives to reduce uncertainty, threat, and social discord. According to system justification theory, however, some ideologies—such as those that are conservative, religious, and legitimizing of the status quo—are especially appealing to people whose epistemic, existential, and relational motives are chronically or temporarily heightened. In this article, we focus on relational motivation, describing evidence that conservatives are more likely than liberals to: prioritize values of conformity and tradition; possess a strong desire to share reality with like-minded others; perceive within-group consensus when making political and non-political judgments; be influenced by implicit relational cues and sources who are perceived as similar to them; and maintain homogenous social networks and favor an ‘echo chamber’ environment that is conducive to the spread of misinformation.