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article imageA conservative is a liberal who has been mugged

By Thespian     Jan 19, 2007 in Politics
It's an old joke, but there might be some truth to it. This Psychology Today story talks about how our political thinking is shaped by many factors, including fear.
Most people are surprised to learn that there are real, stable differences in personality between conservatives and liberals—not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament. Psychologists John Jost of New York University, Dana Carney of Harvard, and Sam Gosling of the University of Texas have demonstrated that conservatives and liberals boast markedly different home and office decor. Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics. And that's just a start. Multiple studies find that liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art. Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio. Liberal men like romantic comedies more than conservative men. Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments.
The article goes much more in depth than just these simple surface differences. It is an interesting take on the psychological factors that make us who we are. I had never considered a massive shift of liberals to conservative thought patterns after 9/11.
All in all, a good read, and I recommend it to folks of all political stripes for an insight into how we form our opinions about highly charged topics. I think understanding each other and our respective motivations can only help us move forward together, despite our differences.
More about Liberal, Conservative, Fear, Psychology
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