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February 29, 2012

Interesting: Study Suggests That Liberals Tend To Avoid Thinking About The Negative, While Conservatives Focus on It

The finding isn't screamingly biased, at least not to me, because here, I don't see that denialism is the "better" response when seeing something terrible.

But that seems to be the liberal psychology. Conservatives, if we have a flaw, and we don't, tend to dwell on the negative.

Winter's coming, you say? Bah.
Just more of your Jesus-talk.

Conducted by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and published in the February 16 issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, the study monitored the eye movements and skin conductance of participants from both sides of the political spectrum when shown the same series of images. Some of the images were benign, others less so. According to a press release from the university:
While liberals’ gazes tended to fall upon the pleasant images, such as a beach ball or a bunny rabbit, conservatives clearly focused on the negative images—of an open wound, a crashed car or a dirty toilet, for example.

This does seem to explain a large swath of conservative and liberal behavior. If a liberal proposes something dumb, like a guaranteed minimum income, conservatives immediately see that not only is that money being forcibly extracted from someone else (negative implication one), but that removing someone's motivation to be industrious at all will have pernicious effects down the line and lead to increased sloth, increased numbers of people getting handouts, increased need for wealth-extraction from the productive class, and ultimately a collapse of the whole system as the producers decide they'll stop producing, too, and just take their Government Check for Breathing (negative implication two).

Liberals seem to only get that one part about people having free money. You literally cannot get them to focus on the other things. They just glibly dismiss inevitable secondary effects ("You don't know that! You're not psychic!") and appeal to emotion ("I don't want to live in a world where a poor child doesn't have Starz On Demand").

This does reinforce some stereotypes, that conservatives tend to be worriers and planners and vigilance committee patrol people, whereas liberals tend to be Good Time Charlies. The old, "Who's gonna man that wall? You, Lieutenant Weinstein?"

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posted by Ace at 01:36 PM

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