Political Science Professor Talks Bias and Perception of Political Misconduct

Ryan Claassen, professor of political science
Ryan Claassen, professor of political science
Ryan Claassen, Ph.D., professor of political science at Kent State University, conducted research during the fall semester finding that American voters think politicians view situations differently depending on party affiliation. Claassen’s research was recently featured in an article from the Record-Courier. 

For instance, as mentioned in the article during a football game, fans of the home team watch the referees decide a penalty against their team. The fans of the home team will protest the call, while fans of the opposing team will believe the call is fair. This is an example of motivated reasoning, where people make emotionally-biased decisions that do not accurately reflect what occurs. 

“Motivated reasoning is sort of a basic human thing,” Claassen told the Record-Courier. “We seem more or less hardwired to identify with groups and process information in a way that favors ‘in’ groups and disfavors ‘out’ groups.”

To understand how members of both parties view politics through motivated reasoning, Claassen told the Record-Courier that he administered surveys asking voters how they feel about party leaders manipulating voting machines to that party’s advantage at certain polling locations. 

“Interestingly, what we find when we compare people across groups is that they have fairly lukewarm disapproval of these tactics,” Claassen said.

To read more about Claassen’s conclusions, read the full story here: https://www.record-courier.com/story/news/2021/01/07/kent-state-politics-trump-biden-election-capitol-riot-protest/6561801002/

POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 6:34am
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 9:42am
Brady Warmbein