Thursday, March 13, 2008

Morality of Liberals and Conservatives

I just read about a study David Sloan Wilson and Ingrid Storm conducted, that compared the moral thinking of liberals and conservatives.
Dr Wilson and Dr Storm found several unexpected differences between the groups. Liberal teenagers always felt more stress than conservatives, but were particularly stressed if they could not decide for themselves whom they spent time with. Such choice, or the lack of it, did not change conservative stress levels. Liberals were also loners, spending a quarter of their time on their own. Conservatives were alone for a sixth of the time. That may have been related to the fact that liberals were equally bored by their own company and that of others. Conservatives were far less bored when with other people. They also preferred the company of relatives to non-relatives. Liberals were indifferent. Perhaps most intriguingly, the more religious a liberal teenager claimed to be, the more he was willing to confront his parents with dissenting beliefs. The opposite was true for conservatives. [Source.]
From the conclusion of the study report:
Liberal Protestantism was shown to correlate positively with social class, education and various measures of individualism. Conservative Protestantism was associated with lower levels of education and socioeconomic class, and correlated with higher levels of dependence on family. The results of this study strongly indicate that liberal Protestantism is an adaptive cultural strategy in groups of highly educated individuals in secure environments. Conservative Protestantism seems to be adaptive at the group level in situations and environments with comparatively lower existential security and lower levels of education.
The full results of the study can be found here [PDF]. And right now, I'm feeling pretty smart about myself.

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