The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 29th, 2014
During a 2011 talk at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Jonathan Haidt
asked the roughly 1,000 researchers gathered how many considered
themselves liberal. About 800 hands went up. Twenty identified as
"moderate or centrist"; 12 fessed up to libertarianism. The number of
self-described conservatives in the room: three.
Out of a thousand.
Now a forthcoming paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences,
written by Mr. Haidt and several co-authors, makes the case that
ideological one-sidedness in social psychology is a genuine problem and
offers suggestions for fixing it. The paper also singles out researchers
that the authors believe are guilty of letting their leanings undermine
the quality of their work.
The paper grew out of an essay by José Duarte that he posted on a
social-psychology email list after Mr. Haidt’s impromptu survey of the
field’s political loyalties. In the essay, Mr. Duarte, a graduate
student at Arizona State University who is one of the new paper’s
co-authors, offered the following principle: "If a research question
requires that one assume that a particular ideology or value system is
factually true, then that research question is invalid."