Source Themes

Estimating the causal effects of cognitive effort and policy information on party cue influence

Why do party cues influence public opinion? A long-standing and influential theory holds that party cues function as heuristics, stand-ins for the lack of policy information and motivation to engage in effortful thinking that characterizes the …

Does observability amplify sensitivity to moral frames? Evaluating a reputation-based account of moral preferences

A growing body of work suggests that people are sensitive to moral framing in economic games involving prosociality, suggesting that people hold moral preferences for doing the “right thing”. What gives rise to these preferences? Here, we evaluate …

Estimating the between-issue variation in party elite cue effects

Influential models and studies of public opinion formation identify party elite cues as prominent drivers of public policy opinion. However, there is substantial variation in effect sizes across studies, and this variation is a barrier to the …

Rethinking the link between cognitive sophistication and politically motivated reasoning

Partisan disagreement over policy-relevant facts is a salient feature of contemporary American politics. Perhaps surprisingly, such disagreements are often the greatest among opposing partisans who are the most cognitively sophisticated. A prominent …

Bayesian or biased? Analytic thinking and political belief updating

A surprising finding from U.S. opinion surveys is that political disagreements tend to be greatest among the most cognitively sophisticated opposing partisans. Recent experiments suggest a hypothesis that could explain this pattern: cognitive …

Thinking clearly about causal inferences of politically motivated reasoning: Why paradigmatic study designs often undermine causal inference

A common inference in behavioral science is that people’s motivation to reach a politically congenial conclusion causally affects their reasoning—known as politically motivated reasoning. Often these inferences are made on the basis of data from …

Moral polarization and out-party hostility in the US political context

Affective polarization describes the phenomenon whereby people identifying as Republican or Democrat tend to view opposing partisans negatively and co-partisans positively. Though extensively studied, there remain important gaps in scholarly …

Biased belief in the Bayesian Brain: A deeper look at the evidence

A recent critique of hierarchical Bayesian models of delusion argues that, contrary to a key assumption of these models, belief formation in the healthy (i.e., neurotypical) mind is manifestly non-Bayesian. Here we provide a deeper examination of the …

Investigating the relationship between self-perceived moral superiority and moral behavior using economic games

Most people report that they are superior to the average person on various moral traits. The psychological causes and social consequences of this phenomenon have received considerable empirical attention. The behavioral correlates of self-perceived …

Doing good vs avoiding bad in prosocial choice: A refined test and extension of the morality preference hypothesis

Prosociality is fundamental to human social life, and, accordingly, much research has attempted to explain human prosocial behavior. Capraro and Rand (*Judgment and Decision Making, 13*, 99–111, 2018) recently provided experimental evidence that …