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Determinants and Consequences of the Students' Perception of Political Bias in the Classroom

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Abstract:

Claims regarding political bias in the classrooms of the academy are common in many democracies. However, despite the attention this highly debated issue has received in recent years, research regarding the determinants of student's perceptions of faculty members' political bias, and the consequences of such perceptions is clearly lacking. In this study we examine the determinants of perceptions of political bias (PPB) in the academy, and its consequences for students' behavior and attitudes towards their professors.
A sample of 1257 students in Social Science and Law faculties in five Israeli universities completed a questionnaire with randomly assigned priming treatments. Our findings suggest that most students report relatively low levels of political bias. Yet, drawing on Motivated Reasoning literature and on a novel measure of students' estimation of the political positions of their professors, we show that the perceived Ideological gap between a student and her professors increases PPB, whereas perceived ideological diversity amongst the student's professors is negatively associated with reported political bias. In turn, PPB substantially increases students' fear to express political opinions in the presence of their professors, and lowers the evaluation of professors. Possible implications and directions for further research are discussed.

Author's Keywords:

Political Bias, Motivated Reasoning, Priming
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Association:
Name: ISPP 36th Annual Scientific Meeting
URL:
http://ispp.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p658964_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Yair, Omer. and Sulitzeanu-Kenan, Raanan. "Determinants and Consequences of the Students' Perception of Political Bias in the Classroom" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISPP 36th Annual Scientific Meeting, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, IDC–Herzliya, Herzliya, Israel, Jul 04, 2013 <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p658964_index.html>

APA Citation:

Yair, O. and Sulitzeanu-Kenan, R. , 2013-07-04 "Determinants and Consequences of the Students' Perception of Political Bias in the Classroom" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISPP 36th Annual Scientific Meeting, Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, IDC–Herzliya, Herzliya, Israel <Not Available>. 2014-12-11 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p658964_index.html

Publication Type: Paper (prepared oral presentation)
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Claims regarding political bias in the classrooms of the academy are common in many democracies. However, despite the attention this highly debated issue has received in recent years, research regarding the determinants of student's perceptions of faculty members' political bias, and the consequences of such perceptions is clearly lacking. In this study we examine the determinants of perceptions of political bias (PPB) in the academy, and its consequences for students' behavior and attitudes towards their professors.
A sample of 1257 students in Social Science and Law faculties in five Israeli universities completed a questionnaire with randomly assigned priming treatments. Our findings suggest that most students report relatively low levels of political bias. Yet, drawing on Motivated Reasoning literature and on a novel measure of students' estimation of the political positions of their professors, we show that the perceived Ideological gap between a student and her professors increases PPB, whereas perceived ideological diversity amongst the student's professors is negatively associated with reported political bias. In turn, PPB substantially increases students' fear to express political opinions in the presence of their professors, and lowers the evaluation of professors. Possible implications and directions for further research are discussed.


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