Do beliefs about psychologists’ political biases matter? Perceived political ideology moderates how laypeople construe research on wrongdoing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Two studies examine a possible consequence – namely, unwanted reactions to psychological research on wrongdoing – if laypeople perceive psychologists to have liberal tendencies. Study 1 replicated previous research by showing that when psychologists presented findings demonstrating situational (compared to dispositional or interactionist) influences on wrongdoing, they were perceived as assigning less responsibility to perpetrators. Further, this effect was stronger among participants who perceived psychologists to be politically liberal. Study 2 revealed that when psychologists were explicitly identified as liberals, participants believed they would downplay perpetrator responsibility across the board, but particularly when the responsibility attributional account was situational. Psychologists should be aware that laypeople’s perception of their political leanings could lead to discrepant construal of psychologists’ actual perspectives on human behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Influence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Oct 22 2016

Keywords

  • Political ideology
  • responsibility attribution
  • wrongdoing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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