Papers which said conservatism linked to psychoticism reverses findings

The NY Post reports:

Turns out liberals are the real authoritarians.

A political-science journal that published an oft-cited study claiming conservatives were more likely to show traits associated with “psychoticism” now says it got it wrong. Very wrong.

The American Journal of Political Science published a correction this year saying that the 2012 paper has “an error” — and that liberal political beliefs, not conservative ones, are actually linked to psychoticism.

“The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed,” the journal said in the startling correction.

So how did such a massive error make it through a peer reviewed journal?

The journal said the error doesn’t change the main conclusions of the paper, which found that “personality traits do not cause people to develop political attitudes.”

But professor Steven Ludeke of the University of Southern Denmark, who pointed out the errors, told Retraction Watch that they “matter quite a lot.”

“The erroneous results represented some of the larger correlations between personality and politics ever reported; they were reported and interpreted, repeatedly, in the wrong direction,” he said.

It’s one thing for a paper to say something was significant when it wasn’t. It is another to reverse the findings entirely.

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