Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Groupthink on Campus

President Obama’s support for free speech notwithstanding, faculty members at American universities are of one mind on most important social, political and cultural issues. To be more precise, faculty members in the humanities and the social sciences suffer from advanced groupthink.

President Obama might believe, as most of us do, that confronting different points of view is a good thing. Yet when it comes to the field of social psychology, in particular, there is no diversity of viewpoint. What is called research tends consistently to promote one set of social and cultural values, and to oppose the other.

A group of psychologists and social psychologists has addressed the problem in an academic paper. In place of the prevailing orthodoxy, the adherence to certain dogmatic truths, they promote the value of heterodoxy. Jonathan Haidt summarizes the results here:

Psychologists have demonstrated the value of diversity – particularly diversity of viewpoints – for enhancing creativity, discovery, and problem solving. But one key type of viewpoint diversity is lacking in academic psychology in general and social psychology in particular: political diversity. This article reviews the available evidence and finds support for four claims: (1) Academic psychology once had considerable political diversity, but has lost nearly all of it in the last 50 years. (2) This lack of political diversity can undermine the validity of social psychological science via mechanisms such as the embedding of liberal values into research questions and methods, steering researchers away from important but politically unpalatable research topics, and producing conclusions that mischaracterize liberals and conservatives alike. (3) Increased political diversity would improve social psychological science by reducing the impact of bias mechanisms such as confirmation bias, and by empowering dissenting minorities to improve the quality of the majority’s thinking. (4) The underrepresentation of non-liberals in social psychology is most likely due to a combination of self-selection, hostile climate, and discrimination. We close with recommendations for increasing political diversity in social psychology.

This suggests that we ought to be extremely cautious when examining the research performed by social psychologists. Most of it is disguised propaganda.

By calling their bias science, these researchers are working to impose their own cultural values. If you do not agree with them you are a troglodyte, living in the dark cave of outmoded superstition. If you are a student and do not accept their views, you are not going to get a very good grade. If you are a junior faculty member and hold differing opinions, you had best start looking for another career. 


Ares Olympus said...

Hurray for Jonathan Haidt!

The strange thing is that Liberals are supposed to be the side interested in openness and diversity, while conservatives are supposed to be the side interested in personal freedom and merit-based standards over quotas.

if we follow Haidt, we would seem to need conservative staff quotas in the social science departments, and liberals will need "sensitivity training" to reduce their irrational hostilities.

priss rules said...

Obama's lip service.

He really enjoys the sight of PC overlords shutting people down.
Action speaks louder than words, and Obama's words are worthless. Talk is cheap.

Even dictators all claim to be for liberty and freedom.

Gangsters say they are for law and order.

Anyone can say anything.

Sam L. said...

Ares said, "The strange thing is that Liberals are supposed to be the side interested in openness and diversity, while conservatives are supposed to be the side interested in personal freedom and merit-based standards over quotas." Yes, they've been lying to us. This is not an accident.

Anonymous said...

Imagine that: people wanting to be around others who think like them, act like them, read/watch/listen to things like them, behave like them, and on and on. I thought liberals always wanted people to think different. It's all ideological persuasion disguised as open mindedness masked as tolerance masking contempt. They don't even see it. They have an identity emanating from the belief that they're so smart, and others so ignorant. It's a mirage built on elitism built on bigotry built on eugenics. They can't even see it. Oh well.