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  1. #1
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    Default Studies: Conservatives and Liberals are Psychologically Different

    Scientists Are Beginning to Figure Out Why Conservatives Are…Conservative

    The title seems bias, and in a certain light it is, but it's because the studies have focused on the personality attributes that defines conservatives. It's implied that the opposings to these define Liberals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Excerpts
    Ten years ago, it was wildly controversial to talk about psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. Today, it's becoming hard not to.
    ...
    [In] the latest issue of the journal, this process reveals the following conclusion: A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.
    ...
    in the latest issue of the journal, this process reveals the following conclusion: A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics. ... Twenty-six different scholars or groups of scholars then got an opportunity to tee off on the paper, firing off a variety of responses. But as Hibbing and colleagues note in their final reply, out of those responses, "22 or 23 accept the general idea" of a conservative negativity bias, and simply add commentary to aid in the process of "modifying it, expanding on it, specifying where it does and does not work," and so on. Only about three scholars or groups of scholars seem to reject the idea entirely.
    ...
    All of this matters, of course, because we still operate in politics and in media as if minds can be changed by the best honed arguments, the most compelling facts. And yet if our political opponents are simply perceiving the world differently, that idea starts to crumble. Out of the rubble just might arise a better way of acting in politics that leads to less dysfunction and less gridlock…thanks to science.
    It's worth reading the full article, as it's not entirely too long. It really hammers home the notion that there are fundemental differences between many of those who subscribe to liberal and conservative views. At one point they mention the common traits featured in many conservatives:

    Quote Originally Posted by Conservative Traits
    This research consistently finds that conservatism is positively associated with heightened epistemic concerns for order, structure, closure, certainty, consistency, simplicity, and familiarity, as well as existential concerns such as perceptions of danger, sensitivity to threat, and death anxiety.
    What I find surprising is how much backlash this has gotten in the past, and is likely to get now. Thankfully it won't go very far because of how solid this is. There isn't anything inheriently good or bad about this. It simply is. It's observed traits shown as a trend, not everyone is going to fit to it (I certainly buck it; reading the above quote by all accounts I should be very very conservative as all of those define me except the last). It's still enlightining though and does lend to considering different ways of discourse and presentation when it comes to politics.

    Discuss.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Very interesting article; thanks for posting this, Hard!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    What I find surprising is how much backlash this has gotten in the past, and is likely to get now. Thankfully it won't go very far because of how solid this is. There isn't anything inheriently good or bad about this. It simply is. It's observed traits shown as a trend, not everyone is going to fit to it (I certainly buck it; reading the above quote by all accounts I should be very very conservative as all of those define me except the last). It's still enlightining though and does lend to considering different ways of discourse and presentation when it comes to politics.
    Yeah, this certainly isn't two-sizes-fit-all. I myself am a big fan of certainty, consistency, and simplicity, despite definitely not being conservative.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hard View Post
    The title seems bias, and in a certain light it is, but it's because the studies have focused on the personality attributes that defines conservatives. It's implied that the opposings to these define Liberals.
    Just to pick a nit: I think the implication is that liberals are simply less extreme in the mentioned traits. The Us vs. Them mentality of politics makes it tempting to frame liberal and conservative traits as opposites, but I bet that if Dr. Hibbing were asked, he'd say that each group simply exaggerates certain universal traits.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    This topic has been studied before. Basically conservatives are low on openness scale on big 5(not open to new ideas or change). Also conservatives have lower IQ on average than liberals(high openness correlates with high IQ), but thats just obvious..
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

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  4. #4
    Junior Member JjJot's Avatar
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    I love studies like this, but I have to ask what people think of the anomalies in these kinds of observations?

    Some may immediately reference Sweden or the Netherlands, but England is my favorite example.

    If anyone ever visited England and really looked closely, you will see that the English are absolutely bonkers for security... if England were a person I would consider them completely paranoid. Everything Americans do overseas to "protect themselves", England does in the homeland. England is pretty moderate, maybe liberal... yet they are terrified of the Eurozone and consider it "below them", while Germany is borderline socialist, equally paranoid about security, and they are the sugar daddy of the whole continent.

    I don't disagree general idea of the article, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that conservatism and liberalism across societies can be surprisingly similar and strangely different at the same time. It seems too generalized yet.

    Now that I think about it, I guess this just confirms what I have read in the above posts... that it is strange that someone who identifies himself as liberal would be nodding at "conservative" cognitive traits
    Last edited by JjJot; 03-25-2015 at 10:06 AM. Reason: add

  5. #5
    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Hmm...

    The occasion of this revelation is a paper by John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska and his colleagues, arguing that political conservatives have a "negativity bias," meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments.
    Is this really a phenomenon limited to the political right? That's not necessarily been my experience. I think the "negativity bias" expresses itself differently, but some people who consider themselves left-wing appear to have it.

    After all, one of the teams of commenters includes New York University social psychologist John Jost, who drew considerable political ire in 2003 when he and his colleagues published a synthesis of existing psychological studies on ideology, suggesting that conservatives are characterized by traits such as a need for certainty and an intolerance of ambiguity.
    Again, are we only seeing this on the right at the moment?

    Or is it just a matter of it representing a statistical trend, and not something absolute?

    How are they separating out the people who are conservative?
    [Trump's] rhetoric is not an abuse of power. In the same way that it's also not against the law to do a backflip off of the roof of your house onto your concrete driveway. It's just mind-numbingly stupid and, to say the least, counterproductive. - Bush did 9-11


    This is not going to go the way you think....

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  6. #6
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    So the American 2 party system suggests 2 distinct personality types? Australia currently has 11 parties with sits. Does that indicate 11 personality types? Or must we ignore their internal differences and place them on a single spectrum of right vs. left?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    So the American 2 party system suggests 2 distinct personality types? Australia currently has 11 parties with sits. Does that indicate 11 personality types? Or must we ignore their internal differences and place them on a single spectrum of right vs. left?
    If you listen to the podcast included with the article, Hibbing addresses this. In short, 'conservative' and 'liberal' are not being used as synonyms for 'republican' and 'democrat' in this particular case -- if indeed there is ever a case where they are truly synonyms. (I recently discovered that there is no actual nation-wide U.S. liberal party, though there is a national conservative party.) Hibbing uses 'conservative' and 'liberal' as terms for two universal attitudes -- although he doesn't exactly define those attitudes in the podcast.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    So the American 2 party system suggests 2 distinct personality types? Australia currently has 11 parties with sits. Does that indicate 11 personality types? Or must we ignore their internal differences and place them on a single spectrum of right vs. left?
    Any study of "left vs. right" or "conservative vs. liberal" is relative to how the author defines these terms. One man's right-winger is another's liberal pinko. It's why I don't put much stock into the various online "political compass" tests I've taken: most tend to be very "ameri-centric".

    There are six political parties with members in the Canadian House of Commons (and seven members sitting as independents). The most "right-wing" of them all is the Conservative Party, which holds the majority of seats and formed government. This is a government that governs a country that has universal public healthcare, gay marriage, gun control, no laws on abortion, no laws on prostitution, etc.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Is this really a phenomenon limited to the political right? That's not necessarily been my experience. I think the "negativity bias" expresses itself differently, but some people who consider themselves left-wing appear to have it.
    It's definitely not limited to the conservative mindset, although I personally find it much easier to call up memories of conservative negativity than liberal. Just since I've joined TypeC, I've witnessed outright paranoia and fear-mongering from certain conservative personalities.

    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Or is it just a matter of it representing a statistical trend, and not something absolute?
    The former.

  10. #10
    I could do things Hard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93JC View Post
    Any study of "left vs. right" or "conservative vs. liberal" is relative to how the author defines these terms. One man's right-winger is another's liberal pinko. It's why I don't put much stock into the various online "political compass" tests I've taken: most tend to be very "ameri-centric".

    There are six political parties with members in the Canadian House of Commons (and seven members sitting as independents). The most "right-wing" of them all is the Conservative Party, which holds the majority of seats and formed government. This is a government that governs a country that has universal public healthcare, gay marriage, gun control, no laws on abortion, no laws on prostitution, etc.
    Politics varies from country to country, and sometimes region to region. There really isn't a good way to make it universal throughout everything, so you have to pick a reference point to set the "zero" value within a specefic country and region. I don't think that invalidates the study though. They've merely chosen a window to view it under, and within the US anyway, it appears to work.
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