The February issue of Psychology Today had an article on the more inherent differences found in people who call themselves conservative and people who call themselves liberal. Apparently it goes beyond simple views and values to include underlying differences in temperament.
Several studies have been done on different aspects of this phenomenon. Home decor, travel and education experience, personalities as children, and of course, some sneaky priming are all clues in determining whether a person calls himself conservative or liberal.
In one study done on home decor, it was shown that typically conservatives are neater, their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books which cover a greater variety of topics and more color in their homes. Conservatives are more likely to be religious while liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz. Conservatives tend to prefer country music (deal breaker for me right there). So far, all of these seem pretty obvious and stereotypical.
Interestingly though, in 1969, a couple of professors from Berkely went on a child personality study asking nursery school teachers to rate the temperaments of the children in their classes (three year olds). The children that grew up to be conservatives were indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable. Those that grew up to be liberals were described as children as having close relationships with peers, were self-reliant, impulsive, and resilient. Researchers hypothesized that the insecure children most needed the reassurance of tradition and authority which they found in conservative politics. Interestingly, later in life, conservatives are more typically very decisive with less tolerance for ambiguity and are also typically less vulnerable seeming.
The article sort of loses its focus and starts talking about scare tactics and priming which is easy to get people to change their focus and priorities temporarily. But, we all know about this type of psychological manipulation. It is old news.
And now I have started losing focus.
Check out Pandora.com. It is a website that allows you to put in favorite artists and the site will then put together a sort of radio playlist for you with similar sounds. I have been listening to it all morning. For this new addition to my daily aural experience I would like to thank Mike, the comic book shop guy (I do actually learn something while my husband is browsing!), and Doug, who reminded me of it this weekend in between drinks, rich food, and games.
In other news: Dutch Blitz is fucking rad (oops! excuse my language! it is an Amish game!), the UN clears Serbia of genocide in the 1990 Bosnian war, and Jessica Biel doesn't need a bra.