The Liberal Illusion of Uniqueness

Chadly Stern, Tessa V. West, Peter G. Schmitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two studies, we demonstrated that liberals underestimate their similarity to other liberals (i.e., display truly false uniqueness), whereas moderates and conservatives overestimate their similarity to other moderates and conservatives (i.e., display truly false consensus; Studies 1 and 2). We further demonstrated that a fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives in the motivation to feel unique explains this ideological distinction in the accuracy of estimating similarity (Study 2). Implications of the accuracy of consensus estimates for mobilizing liberal and conservative political movements are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • motivation
  • need for uniqueness
  • political ideology
  • social perception
  • truly false uniqueness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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