When Inbar and Lammers contacted S.P.S.P. members a second time, six months later, they found that the second element of Haidt’s assertion—that the climate in social psychology was harsh for conservative thinkers—was on point. This time, after revealing their general political leanings, the participants were asked about the environment in the field: How hostile did they think it was? Did they feel free to express their political ideas? As the degree of conservatism rose, so, too, did the hostility that people experienced. Conservatives really were significantly more afraid to speak out. Meanwhile, the liberals thought that tolerance was high for everyone. The more liberal they were, the less they thought discrimination of any sort would take place.
As a final step, the team asked each person a series of questions to see how willing she would personally be to do something that could be considered discrimination against a conservative. Here, an interesting disconnect emerged between self-perception—does my field discriminate?—and theoretical responses about behaviors. Over all, close to nineteen per cent reported that they would have a bias against a conservative-leaning paper; twenty-four per cent, against a conservative-leaning grant application; fourteen per cent, against inviting a conservative to a symposium; and thirty-seven and a half per cent, against choosing a conservative as a future colleague. They persisted in saying that no discrimination existed, yet their theoretical behaviors belied that idealized reality.