Radio host Glenn Beck reported Monday morning that three psychological studies have revealed how partisanship and increasing political polarization skew our thinking, even on non-political issues.
During "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," Beck shared that the studies show subjects' views on issues as mundane as ice cream flavors and preferred vacuum brands can be influenced by claiming these preferences fall along political lines. When scientists imply a participant's tastes align with his or her political party, the preference becomes stronger; conversely, sharing the taste preferences of political opponents makes people more likely to change these preferences reflexively.
Beck summarized the findings of these studies and their implications for American political discourse:
We have developed a moral aversion toward political opponents, and it compels us now to make any choice that will keep us on the right team or help our team win. And we will adopt positions that we would otherwise — big and small — that we would otherwise never hold.