Research finds that feelings of victimhood can indeed be stoked by politicians, and are linked to support for Trump, his policy agenda, conspiracy theories & distrust.

Importantly, people do not need to actually be victimized to feel like a victim. washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/…
Perceived victimhood does not depend on race, gender or education.

This helps explain why victimhood could loom so large in the minds of Capitol rioters despite many coming from objectively advantaged groups in society.
Perceived victimhood is also similar among Republicans and Democrats and among conservatives and liberals. For example, 28% of Republicans and 27% of Democrats expressed agreement with the statement “great things never come to me.”
Egocentric and systemic victimhood are both positively related to distrust of government.

Perceived victims are also more likely to explain major events and circumstances using conspiratorial narratives.
There are specific political consequences as well. For example, after accounting for other factors, people with egocentric victimhood are more likely to support Trump, a border wall with Mexico, and oppose “political correctness.”

These links are twice as large for Whites.
Leaders may cynically create a sense of victimhood to build cohesion and motivate support for their political agenda.

We analyzed Trump's twitter account leading up to the 2016 Presidential election and found that his most effective language was about personal & collective victimization.

His most viral moralized words were: "blamed, brutal, hurt, abandon, victims, steal" vanbavellab.hosting.nyu.edu/documents/Brad…

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More from @jayvanbavel

7 Jan
I see a lot of fantastic discussions, papers, threads, and op-eds about the insurrection from experts from various fields.

As a social scientist, I want to add that it's important to understand that collective action like we saw yesterday is due to *many* factors.
Yes, the leadership of Donald Trump played the central role in instigating the anti-Democratic effects--from his initial attempts to dismiss and discredit state votes to fomenting the insurrection yesterday.

Leadership matters a great deal for motivating collective action.
Of course, leadership doesn't occur in a vacuum. Trump was supported, enabled, validated and empowered by Republican elites for his entire term.

This came to head with the concerted efforts by GOP members of the Senate and House who tried to overturn the election certification.
Read 13 tweets
6 Jan
This assault on the Capitol is the result of a conspiracy theory about the election that has been spread on social media and amplified by hyper-partisan right wing media.

Make no mistake, misinformation has driven this serious threat to the world's oldest Democracy.
Will this be enough for Twitter or Facebook to get serious about this issue?

If not, what will it take?
When you watch this insurrection, remember that's it's all based on a complete and utter lie.

There was no evidence of voter fraud. The claims are completely bullshit and have been widely debunked and thrown out of every court.
Read 8 tweets
31 Dec 20
"One meta-analysis of 985 studies of anti-bias interventions found little evidence that these programs reduced bias. Other studies sometimes do find a short-term change in attitudes, but very few find a widespread change in actual behavior." nytimes.com/2020/12/31/opi… Image
“I see most implicit bias training as window dressing that looks good both internally to an organization and externally, as if you’re concerned and trying to do something. But it can be deployed without actually achieving anything, which makes it in fact counterproductive.”
"But to date, none of these interventions has been shown to result in permanent, long-term reductions of implicit bias scores or, more importantly, sustained and meaningful changes in behavior.”
Read 9 tweets
9 Nov 20
BREAKING: A new COVID19 vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing the disease and had no averse side effects. buff.ly/3lgXP9C

Tens of millions of doses could be available next month. This looks like a major scientific breakthrough.
Note that Pfizer "sought to distance the company from Operation Warp Speed and presidential politics, noting that the company — unlike the other vaccine front-runners — did not take any federal money to help pay for research and development."
Pfizer's head of vaccine research said she learned of the results from the outside panel of experts shortly after 1 p.m. on Sunday, and that the timing was NOT influenced by the election.

“We have always said that science is driving how we conduct ourselves — no politics,”
Read 8 tweets
5 Nov 20
I'm writing a trade book with @PackerLab on social identity for a broad audience.

We are struggling to come up with a fun title. I'd love to hear your thoughts on potential titles.

If you come up with it, you will be acknowledged in the book plus receive the very first copy!
@PackerLab The basic premise of the book is that we are trying to explain the not only how identities shape our thoughts and actions, but also that social identities (and the norms of groups) and themselves flexible. Therefore, we can shape the identities of ourselves and others.
@PackerLab A challenge, is that we don't know if the average person in a book store will understand the term "identity" let alone "social identity".

Is there another, more popular, term, phrase, or metaphor that captures the essence of social identity?
Read 4 tweets
29 Sep 20
We have a new paper in @NatureHumBehav using daily GPS data from over 15 million cellphones.

We found robust evidence of partisan differences in physical distancing and this predicted subsequent #COVID19 infections and mortality during the pandemic.

psyarxiv.com/t3yxa/ Image
This beast of a paper was spearheaded by @AntonGollwitzer and coauthored by @Cameron_Martel_ @william__brady @philipparnamets @IsaacFreedman1 @eric_knowles

I'll summarize the key findings in this thread.
@AntonGollwitzer @Cameron_Martel_ @william__brady @philipparnamets @IsaacFreedman1 @eric_knowles We analyzed the geotracking data of 15 million smartphones per day from across the US during the first few months of the pandemic.

Phone movement has been a powerful tool for examining the real time behavior of millions of people to track the spread of the pandemic.
Read 17 tweets

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