Personality predicts political preferences

Jun 09, 2010

There is a strong relationship between a voter's politics and his personality, according to new research from the University of Toronto.

Researchers at UofT have shown that the psychological concern for compassion and equality is associated with a liberal mindset, while the concern for order and respect of social norms is associated with a conservative mindset.

"Conservatives tend to be higher in a trait called orderliness and lower in openness. This means that they're more concerned about a sense of order and tradition, expressing a deep psychological motive to preserve the current social structure," says Jacob Hirsh, a post-doctoral psychology student at UofT and lead author of the study.

The study, which appears in this month's , may even lend some legitimacy to the term, 'bleeding-heart-liberal.'

"Our data shows that liberalism is more often associated with the underlying motives for compassion, empathy and equality," says Hirsh.

Researchers asked more than 600 participants from Canada and the US to classify their politics as either small-L liberal or small-C conservative instead of identifying with a particular political party. They then administered a personality test to determine the participants' and their relationship to political preferences.

Hirsh's work contributes to accumulating evidence suggesting political behaviour is motivated by underlying psychological needs. "We are beginning to understand the deeper motivations that are involved in determining an individual's political leanings", says Hirsh. "While everybody has the same basic motivational architecture, the relative strength of the underlying systems varies from one person to the next. If concerns for order and equality are relatively balanced, the individual is likely to be politically moderate; as either motive grows stronger than the other, political preferences move further to either end of the spectrum."

"People's values are deeply embedded in their biology and genetic heritage," says UofT Professor and co-author Jordan Peterson. "This means you have to take a deeper view of political values and morality in terms of where these motives are coming from; political preferences do not emerge from a simple rational consideration of the issues."

Peterson argues that in order to maintain a functioning society, both types of political motivation are required.

"The fact that variability still exists in these motivational systems, from an evolutionary perspective, means that neither one is sufficient on its own. There are costs and benefits to each political profile and both appear critical to maintaining an effective balance in society."

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jerryd
5 / 5 (4) Jun 09, 2010

Basically liberals have made almost every good change in humans like freedom, liberty, equality and conservatives have fought them all. Which are you?
RobertKarlStonjek
4.3 / 5 (6) Jun 10, 2010
'Liberals' climbed down from the trees, breaking a tradition going back millions of years, and searched out the openness of the Savannah ~ the real conservatives were left behind and remain there to this day.
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010

Basically liberals have made almost every good change in humans like freedom, liberty, equality and conservatives have fought them all. Which are you?

Liberals like Jefferson, Madison, Franklin who supported a limited government or the 'liberals' of Wilson, Teddy, FDR, Obama who promote an unlimited government?
Anynomouse
4.2 / 5 (5) Jun 10, 2010
This topic couldn't be more important. It points toward a deeper understanding for both sides.

Pick any other trait and we line up to buy the latest books about it. But both sides retreat like monkeys from the flame here. We are afraid to find our lofty ideologies mired in evolutionary ooze. Conservatives deny evolution and liberals deny the biology it created – in particular biology that makes men different from women.

After John Hibbing discovered that political orientation was heritable, I thought people might actually want the origins of their politics explored.

The most obvious tree to bark up was the genetic and cultural explosion over the last 80,000 years. This was literally when we transitioned from “Focus on the Family” to “It Takes a Family". Just as our guts adapted to agriculture, our brains have been adapting to human culture six times as long.

Google "The Origin of Political Species" if you are interested in a free 40 page excerpt.
Birger
5 / 5 (5) Jun 10, 2010
The topic is very interesting if you want to learn the nuts and bolts of human cognition and how it affects higher-level behaviour and decisions. Nevertheless, I predict that a lot of people will reject the study out of hand because they are uncomfortable with the implications....
Expect ideologically motivated troll in 3...2..1...
marjon
1 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2010
“Focus on the Family” to “It Takes a Family". Just as our guts adapted to agriculture, our brains have been adapting to human culture six times as long.

Is it nature or nurture?
Evidence and many philosophies support the concept that individual behavior is not genetically predetermined.
It is an important concept politically as it leads to a society in which all individuals have the capability to achieve of the government (society) enables the opportunity to achieve.
I submit the real 'political' difference is power over others. Who desires the power to control others and why?
freethinking
1 / 5 (6) Jun 10, 2010
This is progressive garbage again. So what do you think is the University of Toronto conservative or liberal?

Just to definine terms, liberal today means Progressives.

Progressives traits: they tend to project their hate and bigotry onto conservatives. Progressives tend to blame others for their failures and want others to bail them out of their difficulties. Progressives tend to be followers, tend to support illigal activities, tend to be self destructive, tend to be rascist, etc.
Bookbinder
not rated yet Jun 10, 2010
This appears to me to be a regurgitation/rebranding of the F Scale studies from half a century ago. It's a measure of authoritarianism. BTW, the "F" stands for Fascist. Move along. Nothing new here.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010
Wow Birger, you called that one.

It's quite interesting to watch some of the conservative minded people here try to defend the stance of "the status quo is good enough for me".

Very interesting study.
jerryd
5 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010
'Liberals like Jefferson, Madison, Franklin who supported a limited government or the 'liberals' of Wilson, Teddy, FDR, Obama who promote an unlimited government?'

What a croc! All these were progressives/liberals. The Tories were the conservatives.

Nor does Obama support unlimited gov, that is what repubs do trying to force/bully people to have unwanted kids, go to church and only do what they want them to do.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2010
Nor does Obama support unlimited gov, that is what repubs do trying to force/bully people to have unwanted kids, go to church and only do what they want them to do.
Bingo. Then they cover up these motives by tossing out words and phrases like "Christian Nation", "closed borders", "American Liberty"

Last person who spoke like this of his own nation was the man who late one night ordered several tank brigades to roll through Poland.
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010
Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, etc. wrote a Constitution supporting limited government.
Those who call themselves 'liberal' and 'progressive' today do not support a constitutionally limited government.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2010
Those who call themselves 'liberal' and 'progressive' today do not support a constitutionally limited government.
Amazing how you can read the minds of 350 million people from your chair and determine what they're thinking.
marjon
1 / 5 (5) Jun 10, 2010
Those who call themselves 'liberal' and 'progressive' today do not support a constitutionally limited government.
Amazing how you can read the minds of 350 million people from your chair and determine what they're thinking.

Most keep voting for politicians who violate the constitution.
That is a good indicator.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 10, 2010
Most keep voting for politicians who violate the constitution.
That is a good indicator.
Most people don't vote. I'd be willing to bet you can be counted among them due to your abject laziness when it comes to educating yourself.

Do me a favor and show me a violation of the Constitution. I know Bush violated the Constitution with the PATRIOT Act, but you don't seem to remember that, do you? He also violated the Constitution by pardoning the Pope via executive order, in the charge of covering up pedophilia. I bet you were a McCain supporter. You remember what he said about reading Miranda rights to citizens under suspicion of terrorism?
It's unnecessary and a violation of our security.


That's Fascism, friend, and you want to vote for it, German parliment style.
marjon
1 / 5 (5) Jun 10, 2010
Fascism is socialism. Obama is leading the country down that path using the state to control industry.

These are the 'progressives' and 'liberals' of today:
"Why are so many liberal intellectuals, social democrats and feminists so silent on the more noxious features of Islam – the fierce intolerance toward unbelievers, the repression of individual freedom, the routine abuse of children, the misogyny, the forced subservience of women? “It’s the seduction of totalitarianism,” she says. In her view, Western defenders of Islam are the intellectual heirs of those highly intelligent men and women who used to heap praise on Comrade Stalin. “It’s a blind spot that left-wing intellectuals have always had.”"
http://www.theglo...1595400/
marjon
1 / 5 (6) Jun 10, 2010
You remember what he said about reading Miranda rights to citizens under suspicion of terrorism?


It's unnecessary and a violation of our security.

This is called leadership, defending the nation from attack.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.8 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010
Fascism is socialism.
Wrong.
Obama is leading the country down that path using the state to control industry.
What in the world are you talking about? He's letting BP run rampant in the gulf and Goldman Sachs owns his cabinet. He isn't running industry, industry is running him.

Yes marjon, we know I've been silent on Islam....not. Seriously man, at least pick a functional quote that might fit the actual circumstances.
This is called leadership, defending the nation from attack.

Ja mein furher.
marjon
1 / 5 (5) Jun 10, 2010
"Two groups whom Islamic terrorists can count on for sympathy and support are radical lawyers and their counterparts in American law schools."
"Lynne Stewart is a hero of the National Lawyers Guild a"
"Stewart made national headlines in April 2002 when she was arrested for providing material support to the Islamic Group, an Egypt-based terrorist organization with close links to Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network. "
http://97.74.65.5...ID=17670

"After Socialism, Fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it,"
http://www.fordha...ism.html

The government still owns GM, Chrysler and a few other companies. BP is a British Company that donated heavily to liberal AGW causes just as Enron did with Clinton.
marjon
1 / 5 (5) Jun 10, 2010
Is was called the National Socialist party for a reason, they were socialists.
freethinking
1 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010
SH, at one time I thought you were a conservative athiest. Now it seems you are progressive athiest that sees christians hiding under every bush (joke not intended) ready to jump out and start an inquisition, while missing the fact that progressives are handcuffing people and ducttaping their mouth shut. (Progressives, this is an allegory, you're not yet doing this)

Fascism, A system of governmt with centralized authority under a dictator.
Socialism, an intermediate stage between capitalism and communism.

Is the US a Fascist state? Not yet, but it is sure a lot closer than when Bush was in power. Progressives in the media, government, sure would like us to become a fascist state under what they would consider an enlightened leader (you guess who). Unless people wake up very soon, the US will be a fascist state.
freethinking
1 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010
In this state SH, and PE would be please to know.
Christain churches like they did in Russian, China, and Cuba will be controlled by the Government.
Speech offensive to anyone the progressives like, will be banned.
You will be allowed to elect people the Governement approves.
Jobs will be handed out to those who deserve them.
etc, etc.

Been to Russian and East Germany, Studied History of Nazi Germany enough to know and fear what is coming...
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jun 10, 2010
The government still owns GM, Chrysler and a few other companies.
The government owns an ever smaller piece of GM. Chrysler is owned by Fiat.

FT, I disagree. I am quite fiscally conservative, we need to begin cutting government jobs out. We're bloated and overly bureaucratic. Once we give the govt, local, state, and federal, a good douching and get the fat out of the desk jobs and bring back proper systems of immigration and fiscal regulation we'll be able to start prospering again. There are some socially liberal ideals I subscribe to. Basic welfare(which is broken currently), basic healthcare (which we already had for the most part before the HC bill), education(because stuff like "unschooling" is happening) and protection of the elderly after retirement.

We need basic regulation of industry and markets. Without the rule of law there would be no control and we'd spiral through booms and busts, leaving us all worse off, much like Zimbabwe.
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2010
spiral through booms and busts,

How about the Great Depression? The Federal Reserve was created specifically to end such booms and busts. Their policies and other government policies led to the stock market boom and bust of the 90s and the recent housing boom and bust, all in highly government regulated industries?
The most 'stable' industries have been industries like technology that are regulated by the consumer: costs drop, quality and performance rises.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 11, 2010
How about the Great Depression?
Brought on by speculation, an unregulated economic practice that we set hard rules delineating who could speculate and who couldn't. This was all within Glass Steagall and we didn't have boom bust play as significant a role until we repealed GS.
The Federal Reserve was created specifically to end such booms and busts.
No, no they weren't. They were created to prevent runs on financial institutions caused by boom bust economics.
Their policies and other government policies led to the stock market boom and bust of the 90s and the recent housing boom and bust, all in highly government regulated industries?
I'm going to fall back on my statements about GS. GS prevented "too big to fail" by dividing the commercial credit and investment markets. Citibank wasn't allowed to take investments against sub-prime loans that they wrote. Repealing GS removed those rules and allowed banks to take "bets" against their debtors.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 11, 2010
The most 'stable' industries have been industries like technology that are regulated by the consumer: costs drop, quality and performance rises.
Remember the dot com bubble? What industry was that?
marjon
1 / 5 (4) Jun 11, 2010
The most 'stable' industries have been industries like technology that are regulated by the consumer: costs drop, quality and performance rises.
Remember the dot com bubble? What industry was that?

The internet is booming along with game machines, games, 3D TV, Ipads, I pods, cell phones, electronic books, .....
See the story of Opera on this site?
This market is being driven by the consumer and thousands of companies are working hard to satisfy their customers.
The .com bust was a part of the government interference in the market in the 90s.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Jun 11, 2010
The .com bust was a part of the government interference in the market in the 90s.
Exactly what government interference would that be? Perhaps you're uneducated as to what the .dot bust really was.

Companies finally learned how the internet worked and began establishing the internet as a viable marketplace. This created a BOOM of new small business, including scotchtape.com, a website that only sold scotchtape (I can't even make this up people). Investors, with NO legal regulations to stop them, would speculate endlessly on whether a company would succeed or fail. The companies would falsify their earnings statements just to get investment enough to stay afloat. Then the government got involved because suddenly there was more money in existence than should have been possible. The IRS and SEC started going over the books and found that the free market internet was full of fake money that didn't really exist. Economic collapse ensued. Learn your history, marjon.
freethinking
1 / 5 (3) Jun 16, 2010
Whereas Conservatives use logic and reason and history to come to conclusions and promote their agenda. However progressives use propaganda, indoctorination, intimidation to promote their agenda.

Conservatives believe if its ok for one party to do something, then it is ok for another.

How many progressives think its ok for school children to chant Pres Bush is the best? If thats not ok then is the below ok?

http://www.realcl...lar.html

Any excuses from progressives that say this is ok? What about a kid in this class who is against Obama, how would they feel? Intimindated? Fearful?
marjon
1 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2010
"December 5, 1996 marks the start of the modern bubble, for on that date, Alan Greenspan gave his famous speech warning of the “irrational exuberance” of the stock market. But a clear sign that a bubble was coming occurred the year before. On August 9, 1995, a year-old company with no profits and little revenue made its IPO. Netscape went public at $28 per share and shot upward all day to close at $58, worth over $2 billion. Netscape CEO Jim Clark’s secretary, who knew nothing about stock options before joining the company, ended the day worth over $1 million. She retired two years later."
"“the Fed squandered the opportunity to pop the equity bubble in late 1996 and early 1997.” Worse, “an ‘irrationally exuberant’ equity bubble was suddenly rationalized by a Fed that embraced the New Economy with open arms.”"
http://www.amconm...4/00014/
marjon
1 / 5 (2) Jun 16, 2010


Instead of this, the nonformally thinking people usually maintain less dogmatic, holistic stance close to centers of causal bubbles of aether foam. We can say, such people keep a discretion, a safe distance from problem.

Meaning they never solve the problem and must remain in a protected, government funded university setting or else they would starve to death.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Jun 16, 2010
As an aether proponent I know very well, where all exact predictions of many qualified experts can lead.
Yes, away from your silly aether hypothesis.
Anynomouse
not rated yet Jun 18, 2010
What does any of this have to do with the article?

Our personalities shape the way we look at everything. About half of our personality stems from genes. Much of the rest is cast by late adolescence. Yet when the topic turns to politics, we are offended. We are afraid that our precious dogmas are based on the same sort of things that make us shy, impatient, anxious, or hyperactive.

So we launch into silly defense mechanisms of our dogma, just like we once grabbed our spears in defense of our tribe. Politics makes you stupid.

The last 60,000 years have been a dual whirlwind of cultural and genetic change, where ur-conservative family tribes grew into ever larger more socialized societies.

Our guts have evolved around human inventions such as agriculture and distillery. The genes that make our brains have been adapting to human social culture. We are literally a mix of people who “focus on the family” or believe that “it takes a village”.

If you are interested politicalspecies.com
MichaelExe
not rated yet Jun 19, 2010
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is often defined by rigidity and stubborness in moral issues as well as being just plain cheap.

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