File Under “Keep Your Identity Small”

We know poli­tics makes us stupid, but now there’s ev­i­dence (pdf) that poli­tics makes us less likely to con­sider things from an­other’s point of view. From the ab­stract:

Repli­cat­ing prior re­search, we found that par­ti­ci­pants who were out­side dur­ing win­ter over­es­ti­mated the ex­tent to which other peo­ple were both­ered by cold (Study 1), and par­ti­ci­pants who ate salty snacks with­out wa­ter thought other peo­ple were overly both­ered by thirst (Study 2). How­ever, in both stud­ies, this effect evap­o­rated when par­ti­ci­pants be­lieved that the other peo­ple un­der con­sid­er­a­tion held op­pos­ing poli­ti­cal views from their own. Par­ti­ci­pants who judged these dis­similar oth­ers were un­af­fected by their own strong visceral-drive states, a find­ing that high­lights the power of dis­similar­ity in so­cial judg­ment. Dis­similar­ity may thus rep­re­sent a bound­ary con­di­tion for em­bod­ied cog­ni­tion and in­hibit an em­pathic un­der­stand­ing of shared out-group pain.

As Will Wilk­in­son notes:

Got that? We over­es­ti­mate the ex­tent to which oth­ers feel what we’re feel­ing, un­less they’re on an­other team.

Now this isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a nega­tive effect—you might ar­gue that it’s bias cor­rect­ing. But im­plic­itly view­ing them as so differ­ent that it’s not even worth think­ing about things from their per­spec­tive is scary in it­self.