Psychological Introspection

by Jane S. Shaw

It’s hard to believe, but a journal of social psychology recently examined why so many of personality-and-social psychologists are well to the left of the political spectrum. Gary Jason praises Perspectives in Psychological Science for devoting six articles to, first, confirming the bias and then to exploring its implications. (Only two of the articles took brickbats to the overall findings.) Here Jason presents an example of how the ideological leanings affect the profession:

A 1983 study (by J. M. Darley and P. H. Gross) that purported to show that stereotypes function as self-confirming hypotheses — which fits into the progressive narrative of pervasive “inegalitarian” bias in our culture — was cited nearly 800 times in later papers. Yet a 1995 paper (by R. M. Baron, L. Albright and T. E. Malloy) reporting two failed attempts at its replication was cited less than 30 times in later papers.