The psychology of closed and open mindedness, rationality, and democracy

Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 24 (2):217-232 (2012)
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Abstract

Charles Taber and Milton Lodge provide compelling evidence that people's minds may be closed to information that is inconsistent with their prior beliefs. This type of inconsistency has often been termed ?irrational.? However, recent research suggests that being open or closed minded is not an unchanging variable but depends on one's goals, including one's need for closure, which vary from person to person and situation to situation. In this vein, as Taber and Lodge suggest, those who have more political information may, after having been open minded enough to acquire the information, become closed minded by virtue of having acquired it. At the same time, being more open minded to inaccurate information might lead one in the wrong direction; hence, open mindedness does not necessarily enhance the accuracy of one's judgments or the quality of one's decisions. We may need to rethink the concept of an enlightened, well-informed electorate, to the extent that it assumes the unqualified benefits of open mindedness

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Citations of this work

Is Epistocracy Irrational?Adam F. Gibbons - 2022 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 21 (2).
Motivated Skepticism or Inevitable Conviction? Dogmatism and the Study of Politics.Jeffrey Friedman - 2012 - Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 24 (2):131-155.

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The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - London, England: Dover Publications.
Pragmatism: a new name for some old ways of thinking.William James - 2019 - Gorham, ME: Myers Education Press. Edited by Eric C. Sheffield.
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The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 11 (3):506-507.

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