I’m a little disturbed that I have to write this diary, but I must. In writing this, I am going to reveal more about myself than I am ordinarily comfortable revealing, but I feel like I have to do this.
In their study, they had participants (the PC word for subjects that psychologist now use) write a few sentences about a picture of either Angelina Jolie or Sarah Palin. Half of the participants were told: “Please take some time to write your thoughts and feelings about this person’s appearance. Please focus on both positive and negative traits.” The other half were told: “Please take some time to write your thoughts and feelings about this person. Please focus on both positive and negative traits.”
In their study, they found that participants rated the target–both Jolie and Palin–as less competent when they were asked to write about her appearance. They also found that they reduced her “humanness.” Participants in the appearance condition who rated Sarah Palin expressed less willingness to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket if they were asked to write about her appearance.
The point of this study was to show that focus on a woman’s appearance leads to her objectification. However, the media have jumped on this story to show that “Palin’s Appearance Hurt Her.” My colleagues have been attacked for their research from the right and the left. A story at the Huffington Post by someone claiming to have a doctorate in sociology is riddled with errors. I will go toe-to-toe with the best of them on experimental design and research methods. This person does not understand sampling and statistical power and he misused the term “reliability.” He has a political agenda and a very weak grasp of social science research methods, but that hasn’t stopped him from calling their work “voodoo social psychology.” The comments from the right are actually a little amusing. I posted a comment on the facebook wall of one authors, jokingly denouncing him as a “homo libtard,” inspired by a comment at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
It’s the vile coming from the left that bothers me the most. For a long time, I thought that denouncing science because of inconvenient results was something that Republicans did. Sadly, some on the left went crazy today because they read something about research that wasn’t even true. They dismissed it on its face because they didn’t like what they thought they were being told.
This makes me wonder. Are we really any better than them?