Biased Judgment of Political Bias: Perceived Ideological Distance Increases Perceptions of Political Bias

Omer Yair*, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Accusations of political bias in the mass media, academia, the courts and various other institutions are common in many democracies. However, despite the prevalence of these accusations and the public attention they have received, research on the effects of perceived ideological distance on perceptions of political bias is lacking. Focusing on perceptions of political bias in academia, and drawing on a survey of 1,257 students in social science and law faculties in five Israeli universities, we show that the perceived ideological distance between a student and her set of professors increases perceptions of politically biased behavior of professors, and that the effects of ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ ideological distances are not symmetric. Possible implications and directions for further research are then suggested.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)487-507
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a generous grant from the Max Kampelman Chair for Democracy and Human Rights. We thank Roey Reichert, who worked with the first author on a preliminary study preceding this project. We also wish to thank Pazit Ben-nun Bloom, Chanan Cohen, Avner de-Shalit, Anat Gofen, Liat Raz-Yurovich, Ilana Ritov, Tamir Sheafer, Mario Sznajder, Gadi Wolfsfeld, the editors of Political Behavior, four anonymous reviewers, members of the Cognition and Policy Research Group at the Federmann School of Public Policy and Government at the Hebrew University, members of the Politika Forum at the Hebrew University, and participants at the annual meetings of the Israeli Political Science Association and the International Society of Political Psychology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Higher education
  • Ideological distance
  • Motivated reasoning
  • Perceptions
  • Political bias


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