It turns out we may all be able to agree on something, and it’s unfortunately not just natural park maintenance.

In the midst of the government shutdown, Duke University recently released a study on the concept of “belief superiority” – the idea that your political viewpoints aren’t just correct, but that any conflicting opinions must be inferior. Now, it’s probably not surprising to anyone that belief superiority is completely bipartisan; in fact, Congress has a long history of strong feelings regardless of party affiliation, but the psychological phenomenon certainly doesn’t bode well for a quick, across-the-aisle solution to our budget issues. Duke researchers point to this predominance of dogmatism as a contributing factor to Congressional gridlock in our increasingly polarized world.

However, researchers were also able to determine which current issues aroused the strongest feelings of belief superiority in study participants, and the results are at times surprising. Those who identified themselves as conservative in the study felt most superior about voter identification laws, affirmative action, and taxes, while self-identified liberals felt most strongly about torture, government aid for the needy, and not basing laws on religion. Though “keeping the government shut down” was thankfully not on either’s agenda, belief superiority is sure to cause roadblocks in the country’s way back to normalcy. Hopefully we’ll have it figured out before the next asteroid.

Do you find your friends or even yourself guilty of belief superiority? Do you think politicians also become unnecessarily entrenched over such feelings?

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