Beliefs about Addiction: The Role of Political Ideology

Jaclin Gerstel-Friedman, Fordham University


This study was designed to examine the role of political ideology on agreement with different models of addiction, if ideology relates to whether the statements were categorized as facts or as beliefs, and whether these differences would interact with beliefs about science. In addition, this study investigated if liberals and conservatives expressed differences in their estimation of other people’s opinions about addiction. A total of 233 participant responses were collected through the website Mechanical Turk. Results show that statements portraying addiction as a disease were most likely to be rated as factual and agreed with, regardless of political ideology. Statements portraying addiction as a choice were most likely to be perceived as beliefs, rather than facts, and conservatives were more likely than the other ideological groups to agree with choice statements. The findings also suggest there are differences in how liberals and conservatives endorsed beliefs about the nature of scientific knowledge. Finally, the results indicate conservatives are more likely to overestimate the popularity of their opinions and assume their opinions are shared by other conservatives and the general population. Liberals were found to underestimate the likelihood they would share opinions with conservatives and the general population. Liberals, moderates, and conservatives did not display bias in the accuracy of their prediction of liberals’ opinions.

Subject Area

Political science|Psychology|Cognitive psychology

Recommended Citation

Gerstel-Friedman, Jaclin, "Beliefs about Addiction: The Role of Political Ideology" (2018). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10682734.