Cutting Through The Crap

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Science, It Burns


Comes another study explaining the existence of conservatism:
The authors test the hypothesis that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism. In Study 1, alcohol intoxication was measured among bar patrons; as blood alcohol level increased, so did political conservatism (controlling for sex, education, and political identification). In Study 2, participants under cognitive load reported more conservative attitudes than their no-load counterparts. In Study 3, time pressure increased participants’ endorsement of conservative terms. In Study 4, participants considering political terms in a cursory manner endorsed conservative terms more than those asked to cogitate; an indicator of effortful thought (recognition memory) partially mediated the relationship between processing effort and conservatism. Together these data suggest that political conservatism may be a process consequence of low-effort thought; when effortful, deliberate thought is disengaged, endorsement of conservative ideology increases.
Add it to the list, I guess. Not long ago, there was this:
Despite their important implications for interpersonal behaviors and relations, cognitive abilities have been largely ignored as explanations of prejudice. ... In an analysis of two large-scale, nationally representative United Kingdom data sets (N = 15,874), we found that lower general intelligence (g) in childhood predicts greater racism in adulthood, and this effect was largely mediated via conservative ideology. A secondary analysis of a U.S. data set confirmed a predictive effect of poor abstract-reasoning skills on antihomosexual prejudice, ... All analyses controlled for education and socioeconomic status. Our results suggest that cognitive abilities play a critical, albeit underappreciated, role in prejudice. Consequently, we recommend a heightened focus on cognitive ability in research on prejudice and a better integration of cognitive ability into prejudice models.

And I've written here (so often that there are links within links within links) of many other studies confirming inborn neurophysiological difference between liberals and conservatives.

So we should accept that, barring the advent of forward-thinking eugenics, they'll always be around; and that it's not their fault. If their defects were just a harmless curiosity, like two-headed cows or polydactyly, we could cherish conservatives as a sort of colorful part of an often grey political landscape. But we keep letting them take charge of things, even after they've screwed it all up.

What does that say about the rest of us???


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even schizo-christian evangelicals are beginning to notice the connection between raving republican homophobia and closeted queenery.

Can anyone say why?

Bueller? Drekman?

EugeneInSanDiego

Timmyson said...

Wouldn't you sorta expect that though? People who have absorbed some level of racism, homophobia, or other prejudice, given a little in vino veritas tend to get a little xenophobic or express irritation at the ways that government or taxation is bad? Likewise, since the political left is usually associated with empathy, it's easy to imagine people become less empathetic while under cognitive load or stress, or when asked to speak in generalizations rather than explore nuance.

Sorry dude, this seems a little mean-spirited on the political spectrum front. Just because the right has a disproportionate number of douchebags doesn't mean that being conservative is indicative of deep character flaws.

Sid Schwab said...

It's a study which, if their methodology is supportable, is neither mean-spirited, nor the opposite. It's just a finding. Science.

I reported. Unlike Fox "news," what I report is an accurate reflection of what it is I'm reporting. You decided. Okay. Dude.

Anonymous said...

And Frank's usual diarrhea is conspicuously missing! :D

I've thought this for a while. There is among the right wing a marked preference for solutions and answers that fit in a three-second sound bite, that fit on a bumper sticker. In-depth explanations get ignored. Women's rights? abortion is murder and that's the end of that. Gay marriage? well my priest says the bible says gayness is bad so we oughta punish those bad people by denying them good people things. Taxes? Oh man, that's the most blatant one. Try explaining progressive tax brackets to a 'gubmint be killin us wif taxes' type - like Dale Robertson, http://houstontps.org/audio/4995.jpg - and all that comes back is a blank look and 'but gubmint be killin us wif taxes.' Or something about taxation equating robbery which, coming from some suburbanite that attended a public school, uses public utilities and so on, is especially precious.

American politics is such a shitpile that sometimes, otherwise intelligent people turn their backs in disgust and prefer ignorance. Mostly though, it's simplistic solutions for a simplistic people....

Mike

Sid Schwab said...

Right. Pretty much the theme of this blog.

Frank Drackman said...

@ Mike...
"Gay Marriage"??

Do you mean the Gay Marriage the Homo-Fobe-in-Chief doesn't support??

Ha Ha, what a Moe-Roon

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

Fort the record, Frankie (not that information matters), BHO has always said he has a personal problem with the idea of gay marriage, but doesn't agree with outlawing it.

Which, as it happens, it the Christian way of looking at it: personal beliefs remain personal; public policy is separate. Or would be, if any teabaggers actually believed in Jesus.