Point of Inquiry

Center for Inquiry

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Point of Inquiry is the Center for Inquiry's flagship podcast, where the brightest minds of our time sound off on all the things you're not supposed to talk about at the dinner table: science, religion, and politics. Guests have included Brian Greene, Susan Jacoby, Richard Dawkins, Ann Druyan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eugenie Scott, Adam Savage, Bill Nye, and Francis Collins. Point of Inquiry is produced at the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y.


Peter Ditto - Morals, Facts, and Libertarians

September 4th, 2012

Episode 348 of 570 episodes

Host: Chris Mooney Several times on this show, we've discussed the topic of ideological asymmetry. In other words, are people of all political persuasions equally biased, equally prone to reasoning based on their emotions to support prior commitments? Anew scientific paper(PDF) has recently come out that reopens this question, so naturally, we had to invite on one of its authors. His name is Peter Ditto, and he's a social psychologist at the University of California-Irvine who has been a leader in the study of emotional, or motivated, reasoning. At the same time, Ditto also studies the psychological foundations of political ideology more broadly. And in another recent paper, he and colleagues including Jonathan Haidt, provide a wealth of data on the personalities and motivations of people who choose to be libertarian. So we wanted to talk about that as well. Peter Ditto is department chair and professor of psychology and social behavior at the University of California-Irvine. His research focuses on motivated reasoning and how our differing moral emotions tend to impel it—and how it is involved in partisan political biases. The scientific papers discussed in this episode are the following: Liu, B., & Ditto, P. H. (in press). "What dilemma? Moral evaluation shapes factual belief." Social Psychological and Personality Science. Iyer, R., Koleva, S., Graham, J., Ditto, P. H., & Haidt, J. (in press). "Understanding libertarian morality: The psychological dispositions of self-identified libertarians." PLoS ONE.

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