Equalitarianism: A source of liberal bias
Recent scholarship has challenged the long-held assumption in the social sciences that Conservatives were more biased than Liberals, contending that the predominance of Liberals in the social sciences might have caused social scientists to ignore liberal bias. Here, we argue that victims' groups are one potent source of liberal bias. We contend that many Liberals are cosmic egalitarians, that is, they believe that demographic groups do not differ (genetically) on socially valued traits (e.g.,
... th ability, IQ). This, coupled with a sacred narrative about protecting victims' groups (e.g., Blacks, Muslims, women), leads to bias against any challenge to cosmic egalitarianism that portrays a perceived privileged group more favorably than a perceived victims' group (Equalitarianism bias). Eight studies support this theory. Liberalism was associated with perceiving certain groups as victims (Studies 1a-1b). In Studies 2-7, Liberals evaluated the same study as less credible when the results concluded that a privileged group (men and Whites) had a superior quality relative to a victims' group (women and Blacks) than vice versa. To rule out alternative explanations of Bayesian (or some other normative) reasoning, we used within-subjects designs in Studies 6 and 7. Significant order effects for Liberals suggest that Liberals think that they should not evaluate identical information differently depending on which group is said to have a superior quality, yet do so. In all studies, higher equalitarianism mediated the relationship between more liberal ideology and lower credibility ratings when privileged groups were said to score higher on a socially valuable trait.