By Jill D. Schmid, Ph.D.
Protests, COVID, health care, stimulus package, Trump, news (fake or otherwise), monuments, and on and on and on. This country is more divided than ever on nearly every subject. A recent PEW research poll conducted between July 13-19 shows that one’s political leanings (e.g., their political opinions) are an important factor for determining their beliefs about the severity of COVID with 85% of those Democrat or leaning Democrat believing it is a major threat to the health of the public, versus only 46% for those Republican or leaning Republican believing it is a major threat. My colleague Tom O’Toole recently wrote about how one’s personal experience with COVID is also an important factor for how serious they think the virus really is. This combination of experiences and opinion shape how people think and, more importantly, how people act. Research on attitudes and behaviors shows that attitudes predict behavior nearly 70% of the time (Kraus, S.J., 1995). We don’t like to use the “B” word, but one’s opinions and experiences are really just a “nicer” or less “judgmental” way to talk about bias. I’m sure we’ve all heard someone say – or we’ve said something ourselves that sounds like this: “I’m not biased, I just strongly believe….” Continue reading