Conservatives are “guilty, anxious, and unable to handle stress as children,” according to Dr. Mason Garrison, assistant professor at Wake Forest University, in an online lecture for her class on Personality. In contrast, Dr. Garrison believes that liberals are “resourceful, independent, self-reliant, and confident as children.” Dr. Garrison failed to mention a negative quality for liberals.
The Wake Report reached out to Dr. Garrison for clarification on her comments. The lecture was publicly available on YouTube, then subsequently taken down after reaching out to the professor.
In email correspondence, Dr. Garrison wrote, “I apologize if my statements were interpreted as negatively characterizing conservative students. I was unaware that my comments had caused any feelings of marginalization…”
Dr. Garrison has “revised [her] lecture slides to emphasize the positive aspects of each political orientation” and shared her revisions with The Report.
The Report reached out to the Department of Psychology Chair, Dr. Christy Buchanan.
In her email, Dr. Buchanan copied and pasted the mission statement from the department website. She did not respond to any of The Report’s interview questions.
Dr. Buchanan wrote to The Report, “Sometimes misunderstandings occur in the course of human interactions, including those that occur in the classroom.”
Garrison told The Report that she is “a member of the Heterodox Academy,” a non-profit group that works towards political diversity on college campuses. In a reference to the organization’s mission, says that she “support[s] open inquiry, viewpoint diversity, and constructive disagreement in research and education.”
After receiving the revised slides from Dr. Garrison, The Report investigated her sources. Buried in the speaker notes of the presentation, she identified her source: Correlation not causation: the relationship between personality traits and political ideologies from the American Journal of Political Science. The paper argues that their “results suggest that personality traits do not cause people to develop political attitudes,” directly contradicting the comments in Dr. Garrison’s lecture.