Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trump: Launcher of a Thousand Studies

Yes, the campaign and presidency of Donald Trump has one positive impact -- it will launch a thousand dissertations, a million research studies.

Indeed, they're already emerging in academic journals. I point to this one, published a few days before the election, that looks at authoritarianism, cognitive ability, and support for Trump. Read it if you like, or check out the image below directly from the study. This is a path analysis and lemme explain.

Cognitive ability is a negative predictor of two different measures of authoritarianism, RWA and SDO. That means the greater your cognitive ability, the less authoritarian you are. RWA is an index of right-wing authoritarianism and is measured by such questions as: “Our country will be destroyed someday if we do not smash the perversions eating away at our moral and traditional beliefs.” SDO is a measure of social dominance orientation and is compromised of such measures as “Inferior groups should stay in their place.” So the more cognitive ability you have, the less authoritarian you are. Cognitive ability has no direct effect on attitudes about Trump, but, when funneled through two measures of authoritarianism, there is a strong effect. The more authoritarian you are, the more you like Trump.

In the fine print, the authors note they statistically controlled for such factors as gender, age, income, and education, and those controls did not alter the results seen above.

We'll see lots more and I'm planning my own studies as data become available. More on that another day.

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