Does Political Psychology Make Sense?
Voxcorvegis cites a very weird study in the field of political psychology that says the following:
Liberals reported greater openness, whereas conservatives reported higher conscientiousness. This means that liberals (at least in their own estimation) saw themselves as more creative, flexible, tolerant of ambiguity, and open to new ideas and experiences. Across the political personality divide, conservatives self-identified as more persistent, orderly, moralistic, and methodical.
OK, let’s use me as a case in point. I don’t mind confessing (because everybody has noticed this already, I’m sure) that I’m inflexible to the point of rigidity, incapable of entertaining or appreciating ambiguity, endlessly moralizing, extremely judgmental, persistent like a bulldog, and thrive on order and routine. As much as I’d like to see myself as creative, flexible and tolerant, there is too much self-delusion that needs to happen for me to have this image of myself. Yet I’m a Liberal of the kind that condemns President Obama for being too conservative for my tastes.
But wait, there is more:
Evidence suggests that these personality differences between liberals and conservatives begin to emerge at an early age. A 20-year longitudinal study by Jack and Jeanne Block showed that those who grew up to be liberals were originally assessed by their preschool teachers as more emotionally expressive, gregarious, and impulsive when compared to those who became conservatives, who were considered more inhibited, uncertain, and controlled.
We don’t have any of my childhood teachers reading the blog but we do have people who knew me at 4, 5, 6, etc. They will confirm for you that, as a child, I was painfully shy, extremely inhibited, and silent. The music teacher I had at the age of 6 told my mother that I would probably grow up to be a serial killer because my lack of affect was sociopathic. (The word “autism” was unknown at that time.)
At the same time, my sister, who is and always was gregarious, emotionally expressive, impulsive, creative, flexible, tolerant of ambiguity, and open to new ideas and experiences in a way I could never hope to be, consistently votes Conservative back in Canada.
Obviously, this is anecdotal evidence but the descriptions of the liberals and conservatives offered in the article make no sense to me. Is political psychology even a legitimate field?