Those tolerant liberals! It’s not news that in the arts and the soft sciences academia is intractably left-wing. It is noteworthy to see the bias categorized and quantified.
The journal Perspectives on Psychological Science has published an article by researchers Yoel Inbar and Joel Lammers, psychology professors at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. It’s based on their study showing the abundance of anti-conservative animus in its own field of social psychology.
Napp Nazworth of The Christian Post picked up on the story and highlighted some of its alarming results.
Inbar and Lammers e-mailed two separate electronic surveys to all 1,939 members of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). The first, which yielded 508 responses, asked about social, economic, and foreign policy issues. Unsurprisingly, few respondents identified themselves as conservative in any of those three areas (3.9 percent, 17.9 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively).
The second survey only had 292 responses, perhaps because it asked tricky questions about hostile work environments and discrimination. It found that nearly one quarter of the respondents admitted they would discriminate against conservative researchers. Almost 20 percent would recommend against publishing conservative research, and over a third admitted they would not hire a conservative candidate if a qualified liberal were also available.
Nazworth quoted Lammers saying the idea for the study came from something the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt had done last year at the annual SPSP meeting. “Haidt asked the political conservatives in the room to raise their hands. Only three, in an audience of more than 1,000, raised their hands.”
Haidt followed the experiment with what must’ve been a provocative and controversial statement. “This ‘statistically impossible lack of diversity’ likely leads to discrimination against political conservatives and an unwillingness to consider an alternative hypothesis in research,” according to Nazworth.
Inbar and Lammers were hopeful their report would have a positive impact, and feedback has reportedly been very supportive so far. “Psychologists realize that this is an issue that we need to deal with,” Inbar wrote to Nazworth. “And since social psychology has a good history when it comes to self-criticism and improving how we do things, I’m optimistic that we will be able to tackle this as well.”
Good luck with that, gentlemen.