Thursday, January 08, 2015

Liberals are WEIRD

Liberals Think More Analytically (More "WEIRD") Than Conservatives 

Thomas Talhelm et al. 
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming 

Abstract: Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan summarized cultural differences in psychology and argued that people from one particular culture are outliers: people from societies that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD). This study shows that liberals think WEIRDer than conservatives. In five studies with more than 5,000 participants, we found that liberals think more analytically (an element of WEIRD thought) than moderates and conservatives. Study 3 replicates this finding in the very different political culture of China, although it held only for people in more modernized urban centers. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives in the same country think as if they were from different cultures. Studies 4 to 5 show that briefly training people to think analytically causes them to form more liberal opinions, whereas training them to think holistically causes shifts to more conservative opinions. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis


Noah Smith said...

If this weren't true, we couldn't really call them "conservatives", now could we?

stan said...

I'm trying to imagine a psych study that isn't fatally flawed by bad stats and ridiculous assumptions. I doubt seriously this could be it.