Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Agenda-driven research vs. the scientific method?

All research likely has a prior, that is, the person undertaking the research has some pre-conceived notion before the research is undertaken. There is always a potential for researcher-bias to make it more or less likely that a certain outcome is obtained. On one hand, empirical economists have an easier time of it because we often do not create our own data. Of course, on the other hand, empirical economists have lots of potential data samples with which a certain outcome might be obtained.

With that in mind, Slate.com article describes a "research" outcome that is bouncing around the blogs and social bookmark sites: liberals are more "intelligent" than conservatives.

Here's the the source article.

Something to think about...

I would like to know how age was controlled for in the study. The younger one is, the more likely one is to be liberal.

Being liberal probably doesn't help you to quickly react to flashes of "W"s and "M"s, but being young and experienced with video games certainly does.

Furthermore, I would be interested in how they defined conservative. If this label was self-identified, there are a lot of problems. Many people misidentify themselves as liberals or as conservatives.
That's a great point that age might be correlated with the ability to respond quickly to stimuli and therefore quick response is spuriously correlated with being "liberal."
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