Motivated skepticism or inevitable conviction? Dogmatism and the study of politics

Critical Review 24 (2):131-155 (2012)
Abstract
Taber and Lodge's 2006 paper provides powerful evidence that one's prior beliefs shape one's reception of new evidence in a manner that can best be described as ?inadvertently dogmatic.? This is especially true for people who are well informed, which dovetails with findings going back to Converse (1964) showing political beliefs to be ideologically constrained (rigid) among the relatively well informed. What may explain the coincidence of dogmatism and knowledgeability is the very process of learning about politics, which must use theories, schemas, ideologies, or Lippmannesque ?stereotypes? to target certain political information as germane by putting it into an interpretive framework. This interpretive process is likely to create for each of us a growing database of information that is congruent with our extant convictions but that excludes incongruent information: in light of the data we have already processed, incongruent information seems increasingly implausible (if not incomprehensible), and is therefore rationally ignored or dismissed. But this does not necessarily mean, as Taber and Lodge follow Robert Abelson in suggesting, that people are ?motivated? to be dogmatic rather than being unintentionally closed minded as a result of the plausibility they involuntarily accord to their priors. Recognizing the inadvertent (unmotivated) nature of dogmatism is essential if political science is to take seriously political actors' beliefs?and to assess the gravity of the problem posed by dogmatism
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DOI 10.1080/08913811.2012.719663
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References found in this work BETA
The Ethics of Voting.Jason Brennan - 2011 - Princeton Univ Pr.
Public Opinion.Walter Lippmann - 1946 - Philosophical Review 55:497.
Are There Basic Emotions?Paul Ekman - 1992 - Psychological Review 99 (3):550-553.

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System Effects and the Problem of Prediction.Jeffrey Friedman - 2012 - Critical Review 24 (3):291-312.

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