The Atlantic

How to Overcome Political Irrationality About Facts

Some Trump supporters are willing to lie about his inauguration attendance to preserve their ideological identities. A new study explains how curiosity can help resist reflexive partisanship.
Source: Lucas Jackson / Reuters / Stelios Varias

We may have reached peak polarization. The researchers Brian Schaffner, of the University of Massachusetts and Samantha Luks, managing director of scientific research at YouGov, showed people the two photos below, of President Donald Trump’s inauguration on the left and former President Barack Obama’s on the right:

Trump voters were overwhelmingly more likely than Clinton voters to say Obama’s photo was actually Trump’s. What’s more, 15 percent of Trump voters told the researchers there are actually more people in the photo from Trump’s inauguration

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic2 min read
The Family Weekly: Something Borrowed
What does motherhood look like today? Around Mother’s Day, the Family section took a closer look at the lives of American mothers. The share of the American population who are mothers is lower than it’s been in a quarter century, and moms today are,
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Where ‘America First’ Once Led
A new exhibit reveals America’s isolationist attitudes and policies during the Holocaust—and speaks to where the country still stands today.
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
How a Norwegian Retiree Got Caught Up in a Spy Scandal
OSLO, Norway—Late last year, Russian authorities in Moscow arrested a 62-year-old retired Norwegian border guard and pensioner named Frode Berg and accused him of being a spy. According to Russian officials, since 2015 Berg had been mailing envelopes