What is it about?

This article examines how people's political views relate to their level of certainty and dogmatism. Certainty means how confident someone is about their opinions, and dogmatism means how rigid and intolerant someone is of other perspectives. The authors conducted six online surveys with a total of 2,889 participants from different political backgrounds. They found that people who were more extreme in their political ideology, either on the left or the right, were more likely to be absolutely certain of their beliefs than people who were more moderate. About one-third of extremists said they were 100% sure of their political views, while only one-fifteenth of non-extremists said the same. The authors also found that conservatives tended to be more dogmatic than liberals in general, but this difference was mainly driven by social issues, such as abortion and gay rights, rather than economic issues, such as taxes and welfare. However, both liberals and conservatives who were more extreme in their ideology were more dogmatic than those who were more moderate.

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Why is it important?

This article is important because it shows that political extremism is linked to overconfidence and intolerance, which can have negative consequences for democracy and social harmony. The authors suggest that psychological interventions that promote intellectual humility and open-mindedness may help reduce political polarization and conflict.

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This page is a summary of: Absolute Certainty and Political Ideology: A Systematic Test of Curvilinearity, Social Psychological and Personality Science, February 2022, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/19485506211070410.
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