The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed. Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response. Specifically, in the original manuscript, the descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.
The potential for an error in our article initially was pointed out by Steven G. Ludeke and Stig H. R. Rasmussen in their manuscript, “(Mis)understanding the relationship between personality and sociopolitical attitudes.” We found the source of the error only after an investigation going back to the original copies of the data. The data for the current paper and an earlier paper (Verhulst, Hatemi and Martin (2010) “The nature of the relationship between personality traits and political attitudes.”Personality and Individual Differences 49:306–316) were collected through two independent studies by Lindon Eaves in the U.S. and Nichols Martin in Australia. Data collection began in the 1980’s and finished in the 1990’s. The questionnaires were designed in collaboration with one of the goals being to be compare and combine the data for specific analyses. The data were combined into a single data set in the 2000’s to achieve this goal. Data are extracted on a project-by-project basis, and we found that during the extraction for the personality and attitudes project, the specific codebook used for the project was developed in error.
Having a high Psychoticism score is not a diagnosis of being clinically psychotic or psychopathic. Rather, P is positively correlated with tough-mindedness, risk-taking, sensation-seeking, impulsivity, and authoritarianism…As such, we expect higher P scores to be related to more conservative political attitudes, particularly for militarism and social conservatism.
We only cared about the magnitude of the relationship and the source of it … None of our papers actually give a damn about whether it’s plus or minus.
[T]he correlations are spurious, so the direction or even magnitude is not suitable to elaborate on at all- that’s the point of all our papers and the general findings.
I don’t find this paper at all convincing, indeed I’m surprised it was accepted for publication by a leading political science journal. The causal analysis doesn’t make any sense to me, and some of the things they do are just bizarre, like declaring that correlations are “large enough for further consideration” if they are more than 0.2 for both sexes. Where does that come from? The whole thing is a mess.
It’s hard for me to care about reported effect sizes here…If the underlying analysis doesn’t make sense, who cares about the reported effect sizes?
At the time I was writing my preliminary written exam to qualify to be a PhD candidate, in which I had a section on “socially desirable responding” and sociopolitical attitudes. Because I’d recently read many other papers on the topic, once I came across the papers we’re discussing it is was immediately obvious to me that they’d reported their results wrong.
I don’t know where it happened, all I know is it happened. It’s our fault for not figuring it out before.
There is an error in the third sentence of the fourth paragraph in “The Nature of Personality Traits and Political Attitudes” section of the Introduction. The correct sentence is: For the FFM and Eysenck’s personality traits, correlations between Openness and social attitudes, Neuroticism and economic attitudes, Conscientiousness and social attitudes, the P-Scale and military/defense attitudes, and Social Desirability and social attitudes are the most consistently found.
There is an error in the eighth sentence of the first paragraph in the Measures section of the Materials and Methods. The correct sentence is: Attitude factors were coded so that higher values reflect more liberal attitude positions.
We have been in touch with Brad and are planning as of now to publish the correction in the July 2016 issue.
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; and then cited at rates that are (for this field) extremely high. And the relationship between personality and politics is, as we note in the paper, quite a “hot” topic, with a large number of new papers appearing every year. So although the errors do not matter for the result that the authors (rightly) see as their most important, I obviously think the errors themselves matter quite a lot, especially for what it says about the scientific process both pre- and post-review.