Turns out, liberalism really does indicate mental disease.
The American Journal of Political Science published a study in 2012 that the media and a number of outlets were quick to accept and cite.
It claimed that conservatives were more likely to show traits associated with “psychoticism,” but now says it get the results dead wrong. They claim it was an ‘error.’
The opposite is true.
The New York Post reported:
The American Journal of Political Science published a correction this year saying that the 2012 paper has “an error” — and that liberal political beliefs, not conservative ones, are actually linked to psychoticism.
“The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed,” the journal said in the startling correction.
“The descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.”
The social-desirability scale measures people’s tendency to answer questions in ways they believe would please researchers, even if it means overestimating their positive characteristics and underestimating negative ones.
The erroneous report has been cited 45 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.
“I don’t know where it happened. All I know is it happened,” he told Retraction Watch, a blog that tracks corrections in academic papers. “It’s our fault for not figuring it out before.”
The journal said the error doesn’t change the main conclusions of the paper, which found that “personality traits do not cause people to develop political attitudes.”
But professor Steven Ludeke of the University of Southern Denmark, who pointed out the errors, told Retraction Watch that they “matter quite a lot.”
“The erroneous results represented some of the larger correlations between personality and politics ever reported; they were reported and interpreted, repeatedly, in the wrong direction,” he said.
Such an important false claim seems deliberate, many people agree. Who knows how many of the articles that cited the claim will actually print a retraction, and how many people will continue to believe the false data because it was obvious that the researchers didn’t like the outcome of their study?
If anyone needed more proof of ‘authoritarianism,’ lying about your own research because you don’t like what it finds fits the bill perfectly.