Is ideology the enemy of inquiry? Examining the link between political orientation and lack of interest in novel data

Tullett, Alexa M.; Hart, William P.; Feinberg, Matthew; Fetterman, Zachary J.; Gottlieb, Sara
Journal of Research in Personality

Four studies examined the relationship between political orientation and data selection. In each study participants were given the opportunity to select data from a large data set addressing a specific issue: the justness of the world (Pilot Study), the efficacy of social safety nets (Studies 1–3), and the benefits of social media (Study 3). Participants were given no knowledge of what the data would tell them in advance. More conservative participants selected less data, and in Study 3 this relationship was partly accounted for by an increased tendency to question the value of science as a way of learning about the world. These findings may reveal one factor contributing to political polarization: an asymmetrical interest in scientific data.