Freedom of Speech: A Right for Everybody, or Only for Like-Minded People? (Heterodox Academy):
Freedom of speech is often considered key to a well-functional democracy. In many countries, freedom of speech is considered a more important democratic value than regular elections. But do people genuinely believe in the virtues of open debates by supporting freedom of speech for every social group? Or do they support free speech only for their own groups? In a recently published paper in Social Psychological and Personality Science, we aimed to answer these questions, and we sought to explore whether higher cognitive ability was associated with more principled positions on free speech. We expected that people with higher cognitive abilities would be more inclined to embrace the open exchange of ideas, wherein viewpoints can be scrutinized and challenged in order to foster informed decision making and knowledge…
The results do suggest that individuals with higher cognitive ability are more appreciative of the free flow of divergent ideas by groups at various places on the ideological spectrum. Indeed, even when these groups voice ideas that they don’t like.
Disliked but Free to Speak: Cognitive Ability Is Related to Supporting Freedom of Speech for Groups Across the Ideological Spectrum (Social Psychological and Personality Science):
- Abstract: Freedom of speech for all citizens is often considered as a cornerstone of democratic societies. In three studies, we examined the relationship between cognitive ability and support for freedom of speech for a variety of social groups across the ideological spectrum (N 1 varies between 1,373 and 18,719, N 2 = 298, N 3 = 395). Corroborating our theoretical expectations, although cognitive ability was related to more affective prejudice toward relatively conservative groups and less affective prejudice toward relatively liberal groups (Study 2), people with higher levels of cognitive ability were more in favor of freedom of speech for all target groups (Studies 1–3). The relationship between cognitive ability and freedom of speech support was mediated by intellectual humility (preregistered Study 3). These results indicate that cognitive ability contributes to support for the democratic right of freedom of speech for all social–ideological groups.