By Connor Wills
While we watch policy and government morph and change with the recent inauguration of President Trump, most people are continuing on with their day to day lives. They’re buying groceries, going to school and work- and they’re even dating! But what does dating have to do with Donald Trump? Does politics play a role in relationships? According to NPR, it sure does. When talking to individuals, they found that a person’s political party will either immediately connect or disconnect individuals looking for a romantic relationship. Why? Likely it has something to do with confirmation bias.
According to a study published by the Polish Psychological Bulletin, people exhibit a confirmation bias when faced with making judgements based on moral character and intelligence/competence. The study’s results showed that people were more likely to search for reasons to support their judgements based on character than they were to search for support of intelligence. They exhibited more bias when it came to moral situations and moral traits- such as honesty- than when it came to competence- such as logical reasoning. And- get this- it made no difference whether one was aware of their bias or not, they still expressed the same amount of bias towards the individual. So, people are likely to act biased towards people based on perceptions of moral character- and they will actively search for reasons to back up their claim.
So, wait- how does this connect to dating? Shared morals and values are one of the things that allow relationships to work. And so, these values are often included on online dating profiles. If I were to mention Hillary Clinton, what kind of ideas would pop into your mind? Likely her morals and values expressed during her campaign. What if I mentioned Donald Trump? The same, right? People are including their political stances on their dating profiles, which puts a perception of character in an individual’s mind. So, when people are browsing through, say, Tinder, and open someone’s profile to see that they have a political affiliation listed, an individual will immediately start looking for validation to support the perception that comes along with it. This confirmation bias is pushing Democrats and Republicans even farther apart, as it is only enforcing the perceived moral differences between the groups. Will Republicans and Democrats be able to get over their differences any time soon? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Brycz, H., Wyszomirska-Góra, M., Bar-Tal, Y., & Wiśniewski, P. (2014). The effect of metacognitive self on confirmation bias revealed in relation to community and competence. Polish Psychological Bulletin, 45(3). doi:10.2478/ppb-2014-0037
Myers, D. G. (2012). Exploring social psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Smith, T. (2017, February 14). When Dating In The Era Of Divisive Politics, Both Sides Stick To Themselves. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/2017/02/14/515179534/when-dating-in-the-era-of-divisive-politics-both-sides-stick-to-themselves