A political-science journal that published an oft-cited study claiming conservatives were more likely to show traits associated with “psychoticism” now says it got it wrong. Very wrong.
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.”
In the paper, psychoticism is associated with traits such as tough-mindedness, risk-taking, sensation-seeking, impulsivity and authoritarianism.
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.
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