Sunday, January 21, 2007

I feel a rant comin' on

From Psychology Today:
Most people are surprised to learn that there are real, stable differences in personality between conservatives and liberals—not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament. Psychologists John Jost of New York University, Dana Carney of Harvard, and Sam Gosling of the University of Texas have demonstrated that conservatives and liberals boast markedly different home and office decor. Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics. And that's just a start. Multiple studies find that liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art. Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio. Liberal men like romantic comedies more than conservative men. Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments.
Why, oh why, do I get the distinct feeling that, first, the writers of these studies looked for persons that fit their stereotypes of conservatives, then, second, included them into the study. Is it possible that the liberals in those studies were found on college campuses (students and professors), whereas the conservatives were found in the campus security department, the maintenance staff, and Home Depot parking lots.

I am just one of the MANY conservatives whose personality and temperament fit the liberal stereotype in most regards. The article does say:
Even with impeccable methodology, bias may creep into the choice of which phenomena to study. "There is a bias among social scientists," admits Glaser. "They look for the variables that are unflattering. There probably are other nice personality traits associated with conservatism, but they haven't shown up in the research because it's not as well studied."
The consistent use of the term "conventional" is an example of that bias. Why isn't rigid adherence to recycling dictates classified as "rigidity"? Why is flitting around, aimlessly picking up the "cause de jour" characterized as "openness", rather than "flightiness" or "inability to commit"?

Feel free to read the article, and see what your take on it is.

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