University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) > Tribalism in War and Peace: The nature and evolution of ideological epistemology and its significance for modern social science

Tribalism in War and Peace: The nature and evolution of ideological epistemology and its significance for modern social science

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Because of a long history of intergroup conflict, humans evolved to be tribal. These tribal tendencies can lead individuals to sacrifice sound reasoning and judgmental accuracy in order to conform to and defend the views of their ingroup. Political tribes are one of the most salient forms of modern tribal identity, and so politics likely triggers these tribal tendencies, leading to ideologically distorted information processing. My work has shown that these ideological biases exist in similar degrees in liberals and conservatives, but certain sacred concerns can lead to stronger biases in one group than in the other. Liberals have sacred concerns about traditionally conceived disadvantaged groups, and thus liberals are more biased than conservatives when evaluating information with significance to such groups. And because social scientists are overwhelmingly liberal, these sacred concerns may have biased and may continue to bias the conclusions drawn by social scientists.

Cory Clark received her PhD in Social Psychology from University of California, Irvine in 2014, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at Durham University. She has two main programs of research, examining (1) how punitive desires shape beliefs about human agency and moral responsibility, and (2) how political biases influence evaluations of science. She also co-hosts a podcast, Psyphilopod, which covers psychology, philosophy, politics, and academic culture.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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