Magical thinking lies at the heart of J. Eric Oliver and Thomas J. Wood’s new book, Enchanted America: How Intuition and Reason Divide Our Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2018). Oliver is professor of political science at the University of Chicago and Wood is assistant professor of political science at Ohio State University.
In the book, they argue that our intuitions and differences in whether you use intuition or reason to guide your life, strongly relate to our politics. The intuitionists, those who believe in magical thinking, are sharply divided from the rationalists, those who rely on reason and science. Not only do these two groups differ on what makes them anxious, Oliver and Wood find that these emotional responses to stress seem to relate to ideology and political belief. Though there are examples of each way of thinking in both parties, intuitionists were more likely to support Donald Trump and respond to the conspiratorial politics that the President has promoted.