With election season approaching, now is the time to acquaint oneself with the key findings of political psychology.
Over the course of several decades, political psychologists have developed an extensive literature documenting the psychological differences between liberals and conservatives.
For example, while conservatives are sensitive to disgust, liberals are sensitive to white supremacy.
These effects, now replicated several times over, were initially documented in two separate studies:
The first study, conducted in 2002 at Princeton, brought undergraduate participants into the lab and had them self identify as liberal or conservative. They were then shown a video of elderly men fornicating and asked to rate their disgust on a scale from one to ten.
Conservative students rated the film to be highly disgusting, while liberal students praised the film for its artistic merit.
The second study, conducted in 2003 at the University of Texas, brought undergraduate participants into the lab and had them self identify as liberal or conservative. They were then shown “The Birth of a Nation” and asked to rate the degree to which the movie promoted white supremacy on a scale from one to ten.
Liberal students rated the film to be highly white supremacist in nature, while conservative students praised the film for its artistic merit.
What is the significance of these studies? They allow us to understand why liberal and conservative voters behave differently.
Being highly sensitive to disgust leads to a greater desire for purity. This can drive one to disapprove of homosexuality, abortion, and immigration. Being highly sensitive to white supremacy leads to a greater desire to combat white supremacy. This can drive one to disapprove of Nazis, the KKK, and the Alt-Right.
What kind of psychology do you want your next president to have? The choice is yours.