Liberals, conservatives differ in response to bin Laden's death

June 28, 2016, Michigan State University
"The findings support the idea that liberals and conservatives react in different ways to major events," said William Chopik, Michigan State University assistant professor of psychology. Credit: Michigan State University

Conservative Americans remained unwaveringly suspicious of foreigners following Osama bin Laden's death, while liberals dropped their guard briefly before returning to more vigilant beliefs, finds a provocative new study led by a Michigan State University scholar.

The findings, online now in Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, suggest conservatives and liberals respond differently to major events and may have implications for promoting peace and reducing conflict with people who challenge one's core values.

"Liberals tend to be more malleable, so their beliefs can change, whereas conservatives are sort of always on guard," said William Chopik, MSU assistant professor of psychology and one of Forbes' "30 Under 30" for Science in 2016.

There are potential benefits and drawbacks to both viewpoints, Chopik noted.

"Liberals are impressionable in the sense that they readily use information to shape their views when maybe they shouldn't. But then again, maybe conservatives are too on edge - always expecting something to happen when it is very unlikely to happen. This has implications for things like how politicians appropriate money for defense and approach diplomacy, but also how ordinary people approach everyday situations with others they disagree with."

Chopik and Sara Konrath of Indiana University surveyed 480 people on their views toward for five weeks after bin Laden's death by U.S. military forces on May 2, 2011. Participants read two essays about the United States ostensibly written by foreigners - one pro-America and one anti-America - and then evaluated the truth of each essay, their agreement with each essay and also rated the authors' likeability, intelligence and knowledge.

Immediately following bin Laden's death, liberals evaluated foreigners much more favorably than conservatives, the study found. As the weeks passed, however, liberals became increasingly more biased toward foreigners. Conservatives' views did not change and remained more negative toward foreigners than liberals' views at all points during the study.

Interestingly, the researchers had conducted the five-week survey a year before bin Laden's death and found that liberals' viewpoint of foreigners did not fluctuate during that period (but liberals remained overall more favorable of foreigners than did conservatives).

Chopik said liberals and conservatives tend to draw on different moral foundations that stress different values. Liberals tend to prioritize tolerance and fairness, while conservatives tend to draw on a broader set of values that include those stressed by liberals, but also loyalty and authority.

"It is possible that people's responses to bin Laden's death depended on their political orientation, Chopik said. "The findings support the idea that and conservatives react in different ways to major events."

Explore further: More similar than they think: Liberals and conservatives exaggerate perceived moral views

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julianpenrod
1 / 5 (3) Jun 28, 2016
A Liberal party agenda shill who places comments on Newser, Lunaeros, recently opined, "Morality is subjective, moron." This actually says quite a bit. It says that such an individual, defining what they call their "morality" only subjectively, is constructing it based solely on personal wants and whims. It has nothing to do with others, only the person's overriding self interest. They may claim they treasure fairness, but does that mean they place the burden on themselves always to be fair, or that they demand that others always be fair to them? Note that such an individual, too, making what they call their "morality" subject only to personal interests, can change that "morality" from day to day, hour to hour. This makes such an individual eminently untrustworthy. In fact, the narcissistic self absorption and lack of trustworthiness is a functional definition of a sociopath.
EWH
5 / 5 (1) Jun 28, 2016
Why is this 5 year-old research relevant now? Is there any reason to think that this tells us anything lasting about human nature rather than just being a bit of stale market research?

It seems like the only point of this piece is to plant the idea in people's head that there is some evidence that bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011. There is no evidence whatsoever for this claim, while it would have been easy to provide evidence if the person killed was in fact bin Laden. The body was said to be dumped with suspicious haste. Claims made by the administration were later shown to be false. Most of all, there were credible reports of bin Laden's death in 2001 and 2005, the later video of him was shown to be faked, and after that nothing but unauthenticated audio tapes indicated he was still alive.

We literally have nothing but the word of a politician who benefited greatly from the claim that bin Laden was killed at that time.

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