Liberals and conservatives don’t just vote differently. They think differently

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    Apr 15, 2012 12:34 AM GMT
    "...Liberals and conservatives have access to the same information, yet they hold wildly incompatible views on issues ranging from global warming to whether the president was born in the United States to whether his stimulus package created any jobs. But it’s not just that: Partisanship creates stunning intellectual contortions and inconsistencies. Republicans today can denounce a health-care reform plan that’s pretty similar to one passed in Massachusetts by a Republican — and the only apparent reason is that this one came from a Democrat.

    None of these things make sense — unless you view them through the lens of political psychology. There’s now a large body of evidence showing that those who opt for the political left and those who opt for the political right tend to process information in divergent ways and to differ on any number of psychological traits.

    Perhaps most important, liberals consistently score higher on a personality measure called “openness to experience,” one of the “Big Five” personality traits, which are easily assessed through standard questionnaires. That means liberals tend to be the kind of people who want to try new things, including new music, books, restaurants and vacation spots — and new ideas.

    “Open people everywhere tend to have more liberal values,” said psychologist Robert McCrae, who conducted voluminous studies on personality while at the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health.

    Conservatives, in contrast, tend to be less open — less exploratory, less in need of change — and more “conscientious,” a trait that indicates they appreciate order and structure in their lives. This gels nicely with the standard definition of conservatism as resistance to change — in the famous words of William F. Buckley Jr., a desire to stand “athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!’ ” ..."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/liberals-and-conservatives-dont-just-vote-differently-they-think-differently/2012/04/12/gIQAzb1kDT_story.html?hpid=z2
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    Apr 15, 2012 12:47 AM GMT
    The author is a clear liberal and wrote a book on the whole topic. I didn't check the all the links in the article to see if anything pointed to a scientific study. The one link I checked out pointed to contrasting views on the stimulus, and side was stupid.

    The point is there are studies that show conservatives "use lower-effort thinking", are less intelligent, are less aware of current events, etc. Such studies are heavily influenced by segments of society that are conservative and demonstrate those undesirable qualities. But the converse is not true. That's the point. If you were to control out for those population segments, the results would very likely be quite different. For example, if you did a study on the entire readership of the Wall Street Journal, you would see very different conclusions.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2293655

    The researcher made this statement:

    "Not quite," Dr. Eidelman told The Huffington Post in an email. "Our research shows that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism, not that political conservatives use low-effort thinking."

    As with other studies showing lower intelligence and less current event awareness among conservatives, you should realize that the results reflect the conservative trend of many on the lower intelligence and socio-economic levels.
  • GQjock

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    Apr 15, 2012 1:12 AM GMT
    There has been many studies of what constitutes the liberal and the conservative points of view
    And one common thread is that conservatives come from a place where order is important while the liberal or the progressive comes from a place whe fairness is the leading quality they look for
  • creature

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    Apr 15, 2012 1:19 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidWhat is your point in even posting this? It seems like you are bent on insulting those of us who don't ascribe to liberal / Democrat political views.


    The same could be said of many of your posts, conversely speaking.
  • GQjock

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    Apr 15, 2012 1:26 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    JPtheBITCH said
    southbeach1500 saidWhat is your point in even posting this? It seems like you are bent on insulting those of us who don't ascribe to liberal / Democrat political views.

    He posted it because Caslon reads history and social science probably more than anyone I've ever come across, and he enjoys sharing what he's learned.

    I used to love those posts on arcane subjects. I wish he'd do it more as he used to.


    His point:

    Conservatives are stupid.

    Liberals are smart.

    Rubbish.


    Rubbish no........ Generally speaking the les educated you are the more you are likely to be conservative
    Swhy republicans are so anti-higher education
    Swhy republicans are so antiScience
    Swhy most colleges are more liberal
    Swhy the more educated you are the more likely you are to be liberal
  • GQjock

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    Apr 15, 2012 1:38 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    GQjock said
    southbeach1500 said
    JPtheBITCH said
    southbeach1500 saidWhat is your point in even posting this? It seems like you are bent on insulting those of us who don't ascribe to liberal / Democrat political views.

    He posted it because Caslon reads history and social science probably more than anyone I've ever come across, and he enjoys sharing what he's learned.

    I used to love those posts on arcane subjects. I wish he'd do it more as he used to.


    His point:

    Conservatives are stupid.

    Liberals are smart.

    Rubbish.


    Rubbish no........ Generally speaking the les educated you are the more you are likely to be conservative
    Swhy republicans are so anti-higher education
    Swhy republicans are so antiScience
    Swhy most colleges are more liberal
    Swhy the more educated you are the more likely you are to be liberal


    Having a college education (or higher) does not equal intelligence.


    And we have direct evidence from our last sitting President as well
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    Apr 15, 2012 1:49 AM GMT
    Bush's GPA was higher than Kerry's
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/benedetto/2005-06-10-benedetto_x.htm

    and also higher than Gore's
    http://forums.stardock.com/26219
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    Apr 15, 2012 1:51 AM GMT
    creature said
    southbeach1500 saidWhat is your point in even posting this? It seems like you are bent on insulting those of us who don't ascribe to liberal / Democrat political views.


    The same could be said of many of your posts, conversely speaking.


    Liberal hens (et al) come to mind.

    A sort of, 'do as I say, not as I do'

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    Apr 15, 2012 2:24 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidBush's GPA was higher than Kerry's
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/benedetto/2005-06-10-benedetto_x.htm

    and also higher than Gore's
    http://forums.stardock.com/26219


    And if your parents were as extensive donors to you Yale as the Bush family is, you, too, could have a C average.
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    Apr 15, 2012 2:32 AM GMT
    Christian73 said
    socalfitness saidBush's GPA was higher than Kerry's
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/benedetto/2005-06-10-benedetto_x.htm

    and also higher than Gore's
    http://forums.stardock.com/26219


    And if your parents were as extensive donors to you Yale as the Bush family is, you, too, could have a C average.

    I see, you have some basis that Bush's grades were fixed. Those voices again?
    Would like to see Obama's transcript. Wonder what his GPA was?
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    Apr 15, 2012 2:56 AM GMT
    GQjock said
    southbeach1500 said
    JPtheBITCH said
    southbeach1500 saidWhat is your point in even posting this? It seems like you are bent on insulting those of us who don't ascribe to liberal / Democrat political views.

    He posted it because Caslon reads history and social science probably more than anyone I've ever come across, and he enjoys sharing what he's learned.

    I used to love those posts on arcane subjects. I wish he'd do it more as he used to.


    His point:

    Conservatives are stupid.

    Liberals are smart.

    Rubbish.


    Rubbish no........ Generally speaking the les educated you are the more you are likely to be conservative
    Swhy republicans are so anti-higher education
    Swhy republicans are so antiScience
    Swhy most colleges are more liberal
    Swhy the more educated you are the more likely you are to be liberal

    However, IF YOU ARE CONSERVATIVE, then you are more likely to defend conservative beliefs THE MORE EDUCATED YOU ARE.

    Why Are Conservatives More Likely to Be Skeptical or Distrustful of Science When They’re Better Educated?

    "...political conservatives with higher levels of education are more in denial about the science of global warming than those who are less educated.... For instance, research has also shown that better educated conservatives (or, those professing to know more about the issue in question) are more susceptible to believing falsehoods about “death panels” in the Affordable Care Act, and to holding the incorrect belief that President Obama is a Muslim. ...

    You can’t reason in a truly biased way about politics unless you know something about it first. In other words, unless you’re “sophisticated.” If you follow politics regularly, you come to be familiar with the arguments and “facts” that support your point of view, and that are espoused by those who agree with you. And because of the way the brain works, this means that when your values are challenged on a particular issue—causing your emotions to fire defensively—you rapidly recall those arguments and “facts” and use them to defend and bolster your views: to strengthen your beliefs. ...

    Insofar as one’s level of education is a proxy for one’s paying attention to politics, then, it makes sense that a better educated conservative would express a more firm denial of science on an issue so threatening to conservative values as global warming. For denying the science on this issue serves a key emotional purpose: It helps conservatives to stave off the politically inconvenient realization that the “free market” created a global problem that governments will eventually have to step in and solve.

    ...There are broader implications here, to be sure. Most notably: 1) liberals and conservatives think and process information differently; and 2) “facts” do not actually work, in politics, in the way that so many of us think they ought to. They don’t usually pry open minds; rather, they too often serve as armaments to defend what we already think."

    http://www.scienceandreligiontoday.com/2012/04/13/why-are-conservatives-more-likely-to-be-skeptical-or-distrustful-of-science-when-theyre-better-educated/


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    Apr 15, 2012 3:00 AM GMT
    Jonathan Haidt on the moral roots of liberals and conservatives










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    Apr 15, 2012 3:16 AM GMT
    I think it takes more intelligence to be a moderate/centrist than either liberal or conservative.

    The only evidence I have is that a hallmark of intelligence is being able to hold multiple opposing ideas in your mind at once, and evaluating the merits of all sides. They have to defend something based on merits, and not from a fairness or free market template.

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    Apr 15, 2012 3:27 AM GMT
    Funny, as a conservative with a technical background, I found this amusing. I acknowledged in an earlier messages some of the studies that paint conservatives in a poor light exist, but based on large demographics in the US that are less educated and aware that happen to be conservatives. So I approach these studies with an open mind, realizing the limits to how they should be applied or interpreted.

    Just for the record, I have a scientific background and believe in evolution.

    I looked at the Chris Mooney stuff, the basis for this thread, and in particular, looked for links to scientific studies to provide a basis for his results. I expected they would exist, and maybe they do. I did not perform an exhaustive search. But what I found was Chris Mooney referencing Chris Mooney referencing Chris Mooney.

    So I decided it would be interesting to see what others say about Chris Mooney.

    I don't know if the following critiques are accurate or fair. Not interested enough to research it further. Just to point out, don't believe everything you read.

    Inside Chris Mooney’s Brain
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/03/27/inside-chris-mooneys-brain/one comment
    The unfortunate byproduct of Chris’s book is that by stretching research findings to fit his own conclusions he likely will end up tarring some very legitimate and compelling studies.

    http://www.c3headlines.com/2011/09/chris-mooney-wallows-in-the-lefts-anti-science-exposing-the-liberals-science-expert-english-major.html
    Chris Mooney is a joke among science aficionados. As a partisan disciple of the ManBearPig's level of science, he is continuously found to be knee-deep in the progressives' non-empirical attack on objective, impartial science.
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:30 AM GMT
    White4DarkerFL saidI think it takes more intelligence to be a moderate/centrist than either liberal or conservative.

    What I am garnering is that it isnt about level of intelligence. There are innate personality traits that guide how one processes information, new combined with known, that determine how you react to that information.

    Conservatives have an innate response to reject change. Liberals have an innate response to embrace change or at least explore it first.
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:41 AM GMT
    Caslon18453 saidLiberals and conservatives don’t just vote differently. They think differently
    Ya think? icon_lol.gif
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:46 AM GMT
    Caslon18453 said
    White4DarkerFL saidI think it takes more intelligence to be a moderate/centrist than either liberal or conservative.

    What I am garnering is that it isnt about level of intelligence. There are innate personality traits that guide how one processes information, new combined with known, that determine how you react to that information.

    Conservatives have an innate response to reject change. Liberals have an innate response to embrace change or at least explore it first.


    I would agree with that. Give a liberal and conservative the same sets of information, they're likely to make different decisions. They even dress differently.

    Case in point is the pic below. You think they're Democrats or Republicans?

    ScottpicsTEAParty+006.jpg
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    Apr 15, 2012 4:03 AM GMT
    I think this also shows why some of the discussions on RJ get nowhere. And why the usual suspects keep arguing amongst themselves ad nauseum on thread after thread. Throwing facts at each other isnt going to convince the other side of your position. Cuz each side with simply take the facts and plug them into their thought template and tell you how they are right. One has to show how the facts dont threaten the conservatives need to stability and no change.

    I wonder how one would do that for gay marriage. That gay marriage fits the conservative desire to keep gov't out of people's lives?

    Or for abortion? Legal abortion keeps gov't bureaucrats from making personal decisions?
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    Apr 15, 2012 4:40 AM GMT
    Caslon18453 saidI think this also shows why some of the discussions on RJ get nowhere. And why the usual suspects keep arguing amongst themselves ad nauseum on thread after thread. Throwing facts at each other isnt going to convince the other side of your position. Cuz each side with simply take the facts and plug them into their thought template and tell you how they are right. One has to show how the facts dont threaten the conservatives need to stability and no change.

    I wonder how one would do that for gay marriage. That gay marriage fits the conservative desire to keep gov't out of people's lives?

    Or for abortion? Legal abortion keeps gov't bureaucrats from making personal decisions?

    If you really want to be open, instead of blindly following the article you cited, why not do a critical assessment yourself. Not saying the threads I linked to are the be-all, but they open the door to the possibility that Mooney's work is questionable.

    Also, if you are trying to apply the study to the discussions on RJ, consider what I wrote in the second message in the thread. I don't know about Mooney's study because I couldn't see any scientific basis for it (not that it doesn't exist - I just didn't see it) but there are valid studies that do show less awareness of current events and as I recall intelligence, one study from Farleigh Dickinson University. The point is these studies are based on samples that include various demographics that tend to be less aware and tend to be conservative.

    You would not come up with the same results if your sample of conservatives was limited to, say the Wall Street Journal readership, or I would say the RJ population which participates in political discussions.

    Not saying RJ conservatives necessarily are scholars, but just to illustrate the point again, assume you has scholars from a group of think tanks, evenly divided between conservatives and liberals. Do you seriously think a nationwide study of conservatives of all demographics would apply to the think tank scholars?

    One other point - The term "conservative" is applied often without distinction between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. It is unfortunate the same label is applied to both. Whatever the percentage of people are both, I suspect the studies would be different if the labels were not presented and people were categorized based on their fiscal and social viewpoints. That might be another reason to not apply the study to RJ discussions. I think most of us here are fiscal conservatives rather than social conservatives.
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    Apr 15, 2012 6:43 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidThe author is a clear liberal and wrote a book on the whole topic. I didn't check the all the links in the article to see if anything pointed to a scientific study. The one link I checked out pointed to contrasting views on the stimulus, and side was stupid.

    The point is there are studies that show conservatives "use lower-effort thinking", are less intelligent, are less aware of current events, etc. Such studies are heavily influenced by segments of society that are conservative and demonstrate those undesirable qualities. But the converse is not true. That's the point. If you were to control out for those population segments, the results would very likely be quite different. For example, if you did a study on the entire readership of the Wall Street Journal, you would see very different conclusions.

    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/2293655

    The researcher made this statement:

    "Not quite," Dr. Eidelman told The Huffington Post in an email. "Our research shows that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism, not that political conservatives use low-effort thinking."

    As with other studies showing lower intelligence and less current event awareness among conservatives, you should realize that the results reflect the conservative trend of many on the lower intelligence and socio-economic levels.


    Exhibit A
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Apr 15, 2012 3:08 PM GMT
    Caslon18453 saidLiberals and conservatives don’t just vote differently. They think differently



    Really? So glad you pointed that out icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:14 PM GMT
    Plainly put, "conservative" ideals (depending on how we are defining it) tend to preserve civilizations and "liberal" ideals tend to lead to their crumbling and demise inadvertently. Why? Because many floating intellectual ideas are detached from cold reality.

    A majority of intellectuals tend to be liberal and are unaware that their idealism may be regarded as "higher thought" but in the end it is the more basic evolutionary survival of the fittest instincts that keeps civilizations going and alive. A handful of intellectuals embrace a reverse philosophy and are all the wiser for it because they understand these underlying principles and forces at work.
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:21 PM GMT
    mocktwinkie saidPlainly put, "conservative" ideals (depending on how we are defining it) tend to preserve civilizations and "liberal" ideals tend to lead to their crumbling and demise inadvertently.

    A majority of intellectuals tend to be liberal and are unaware that their idealism may be regarded as "higher thought" but in the end it is the more basic evolutionary survival of the fittest instincts that keeps civilizations going and alive. A handful of intellectuals embrace this reverse psychology and are all the wiser for it because they understand these underlying principles and forces at work.

    Interesting points. Look at articles on the decline of ancient Rome.
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:26 PM GMT
    Mock said, "...but in the end it is the more basic evolutionary survival of the fittest instincts that keeps civilizations going and alive."

    So with that line of reasoning, no appendectomies, no vaccines, no antibiotics, no heart surgeries (like Mr Cheney's) as that is against survival of the fittest.

    -Doug
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:30 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    mocktwinkie saidPlainly put, "conservative" ideals (depending on how we are defining it) tend to preserve civilizations and "liberal" ideals tend to lead to their crumbling and demise inadvertently.

    A majority of intellectuals tend to be liberal and are unaware that their idealism may be regarded as "higher thought" but in the end it is the more basic evolutionary survival of the fittest instincts that keeps civilizations going and alive. A handful of intellectuals embrace this reverse psychology and are all the wiser for it because they understand these underlying principles and forces at work.

    Interesting points. Look at articles on the decline of ancient Rome.


    Well think about it. A conservative is more apt to think "us vs them". While it is a more primitive thought, It's that philosophy that keeps a civilization in tact and thriving, just like it keeps certain species gaining ground over others in the evolutionary process. A liberal would think "why do we need borders? Let's all get together and sing in love and move past this idea of us vs them and embrace all the beauty and cultural diversity that is out there in the world" -- while that thinking itself seems like an intellectually and maybe even morally "higher" position, it is that thinking which tends to lead towards the collapse of a civilization's identity because it cannot compete with the reality of civilizations/groups/peoples still in existence who maintain the "us vs them" ideas and precepts. As disagreeable as it may be, such a civilization will end up surviving longer than the "progressive" civilization that finally loses its identity and therefore ability to cohesively thrive.