A psychological study on partisanship that shows how loyalty to the group trumps the value of ideas has interesting implications for those aiming to persuade an electorate or a bloc.
Appeals to the group membership work because undecideds, moderates, or nonaligned independents may be masking their partisanship:
Brian Nosek is a psychologist at the University of Virginia. Along with graduate student Carlee Beth Hawkins, Nosek studies why people don’t always do what they say they want to do — why there is a gap in many aspects of human behavior between what people intend to do and what they actually do.
Nosek and Hawkins believed this disconnect explains why many independents arent independent when it comes to voting.
The psychologists used a test that purports to measure peoples inner attitudes, including ones they dont know they have.”
The test is called the Implicit Association Test,” Nosek said. “And its been used for a variety of different topics — trying to measure peoples racial attitudes, their anxieties about spiders, their self-esteem. In our case, we tried to measure how strongly people associate themselves with Democrats or Republicans.”
The idea behind the test is simple. If you are a Republican deep down, youll quickly categorize things that are Republican with things about yourself, because you identify with the Republican Party. Youll be slower to group things connected to the Democratic Party with things about yourself. You can try the test for yourself here.