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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Mitigating Biased Political Cognition Through Friendship

  • Author(s): Donley, David
  • Advisor(s): Guevara, Daniel
  • Ellis, Jonathan
  • et al.

A growing body of empirical data on human cognition indicates that, despite self-assessments of our reasoning as open-minded, disinterested, and motivated by accuracy, various psychological phenomena associated with our social identity and political ideology significantly bias our cognition when forming political beliefs and engaging in public discourse; such phenomena include motivated reasoning and the introspective illusion. Since these phenomena can undermine equitable, cooperative public discourse in a flourishing democracy, this dissertation focuses on developing practical means of diminishing our susceptibility to engage in such psychological phenomena. To this end, I argue that close friendships can serve as an important social context for cultivating intellectual virtues that support equitable, cooperative deliberation indicative of a flourishing democracy.

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