November 14, 2017

"27 strange non-political scenarios will appear. Please respond honestly and alone and we'll guess your brain's political ideology."

I enjoyed taking this test, which is premised on the notion that susceptibility to disgust is at the root of political orientation.

For the record, I'm 59% Democrat.

Here's an article in Psychology Today: "Are You Easily Disgusted? You May Be a Conservative."
Because of its role in survival as well as the particularly old region of the brain (anterior insula) that is most active when people experience disgust, it is often described as one of the original emotions and thought of as a building block for other emotions.

So what's the political connection? Evidence suggests that harm avoidance and the need for fairness underlie people's moral judgments in a number of cultures. While liberals rely primarily on these two values, conservatives also rely on desires for group loyalty, authoritative structure, and, most importantly here, purity. Following this logic, Kevin and other researchers became interested in the potential for a relation between disgust and political orientations. They speculated that conservatives are more disgust sensitive than liberals as a result of their concern with purity-related norms and that this difference would manifest itself on issues that some may associate with sexual purity (e.g., homosexual sex and, therefore, gay rights).

Sure enough, Kevin and his co-authors found that conservatives are more easily disgusted than liberals.....
This makes me wonder if all the recent encouragement to be disgusted by sexual behavior is going to have the unintended consequence of making the new generation more conservative. 

And here's a TED talk by Cornell psychologist David Pizarro on the subject of disgust and political orientation:

I note that there's a difference between: 1. Really feeling disgust, deep in your nervous system, and 2. Having the intellectual opinion that it's better not to be a squeamish person (or better to hold yourself to a high standard of cleanliness). When you take the quiz, it's hard not to be more in the second realm, and that leads to a third category: 3. Knowing that you want to be liberal/conservative and that the key is susceptibility to disgust, you'll just decide you're not too disgusted or you're really disgusted based on your desire to confirm your own politics. Or even a fourth category: 4. Once you know a bunch of scientists are saying political orientation is rooted in feelings of disgust, you're going to resist disgust, because you're conservative, and you like proving these scientists wrong.

Hope you did the test before I screwed it up for you!


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Robert Cook said...

Well,according to this test, I am 87% "Democrat." In other words, it takes a lot to disgust me! Hahahaha!

buwaya said...

I beat you, Cook. 96%
Maybe because I hung out a few times with real commies with guns.
Involuntarily, but still.

I'm there with Ho Chi Minh now.

FleetUSA said...

Went straight to the test. Ha Ha Ha. It said 77% liberal. It should have shown me almost 77% conservative. Maybe age tempers the results?

Anonymous said...

"Where's the evidence for this? This is just another hypothesis. Some scientists..."

Look at the work of Jonathan Haidt.

Initially he 'found' (believed) that liberals are somehow missing part of their psyche, being less prone to disgust, impervious to questions of sanctity, and unaffected by authority and tribalism.

However, further study seems to indicate that liberals are just disgusted by different things, hold different things to be sacred, responding to different authority, and of course anyone who thinks liberals can't be tribal is a fish who doesn't know he breathes water.

The problem in most social science projects is the researchers don't realize just how biased they are, and so cannot do an adequate job separate value judgment from fact.

EMyrt said...

This is a variation on Jonathon Haidt's moral foundations work. He's got quizzes at his site as well. Interestingly, his research shows libertarians to have a lower average disgust reaction than liberals. So my score of 76% liberal makes sense, even though I'm not one.

Howard said...

Blogger William Chadwick said...Howard, your "so-called liberal lefty friends"? Are they lefty "liberals" (and by that I mean of course "tax-happy, coercion-addicted, power-tripping State fellators") or not? If they're not (as the "so-called" implies) then Quaestor's remarks wouldn't apply to them, would they?
Who knows, you Trumpsters move the political spectrum goal posts all over the field in response to each tweet so that you can continue to properly fellate POTUS. The areas I fish, surf and swim in are where cucks never venture are all within True Blue Bernie-Bro Looney-Tunes lefty land. You aught to try it, it's primal.

RigelDog said...

What struck me is that I would dislike many of the scenarios, but not because of disgust. The intestines, the preserved hand...reminders of pain and tragedy and death. Not disgusting, but deeply disturbing.

Ty said...

This post has just reminded me of the wonderful, but sadly discontinued blog of The Last Psychiatrist. Thankfully the archives are still available.

Tom_Ohio said...

The worst wrong thing was them labeling having a Liberal or accepting mindset to equaling a Democrat. That is wrong on it's face by definition and its wrong in reality by the actions of all those supposed "democrats"
Secondly, it is ok not to feel too much disgust, that does NOT make you an anti-conservative at all.

The rule of Lemnity said...

I'm still watching CK's movie, if and when it becomes available.

Steven Wilson said...

72% liberal, but I am disgusted by democratic politics. I have been convinced for some time that democrats don't have positions they merely have attitudes. So, there's a serious flaw in the test as far as I am concerned. I think there have been some assumptions made about people that might not survive contact with reality. I am pretty much a live and let live guy which is the absolute antithesis of "liberal" politics today. Long ago it was said that liberals don't care what you do so long as you are compelled to do it. More true now than then.

One of the few questions that I expressed extreme disgust at is the concerning condoms.

This goes back to learning some 25 years ago that in some jurisdictions 10-12 year olds were putting condoms on cucumbers in sex education classes. Supposedly this was to teach them how to install said devices. I was filling out a questionnaire concerning some school programs and I wrote a lengthy essay explaining that a condom's form revealed it's function and how to install it. I pointed out that you either had to put it over or tie it around something and that either method would work. I also pointed out that having pre-teens doing this in a class room setting was more about adults getting their jollies from watching children play with sexual devices.

Even though I was molested as a child and am death on the pedophiles in our culture, I had no idea to what an extent they are out there.

policraticus said...

73% Democrat.

That is fantastically wrong.

Anonymous said...

Gee, my brain is "73% Democrat"!

Or, in reality, the test is garbage. I'm a conservative because the Left is utter garbage, not because I'm easily disgusted.

More fake science from intolerant bigots educated far beyond their competence

Unknown said...

TL/DR Part1 of 2.
I'm amused and enlightened, hope we the people didn't pay much for this work. It's something a senior in high school should have done for their science fair project, including doing some good analysis, and edge case testing, error bar determination using Excel which has very powerful statistical tools, well beyond what most would college graduates understand or have mastered, and be a good learning experience for any youngster. By their rules I'm a Democrat and graded with a stronger bias toward disgust a very strong democrat. But my entire life has been bottle washing doing what needs to be done, that others in disgust won't or can’t do. Pick up a dead cat? Well someone must, and the child whose cat it was is in tears. Best done quickly. Bury a body. Someone has to. Handle ashes, someone has to if no one else stood up for the task. Eat monkey. If you're hungry, or starving in a poor country you bet. Perhaps I'm too much the thinker. Under a microscope I can't tell the difference between prime rib and monkey flesh. Ditto trees, they are overgrown weeds, under a microscope the right slice looks like celery. In a tribal setting there are always a few that do what must be done. The list that I’m on I think. Leave grandma out in the cold when there are youngsters to be fed and not enough food for all you bet. You're a heartless old fool you are, you bet. I’d cry every step of the way, leaving the door locked when they scratched at the door crying out for help, as I know I would to, as death descended on me, without a very stiff drink to put me under. I’d probably go sit with her until she died, even at considerable risk to myself, I hope. Donner pass as I understand it, I’d partake and force other members of my tribe to eat the hobo stew I cooked. And vomit a few times. I’d be the first cook if no one else would stand up for what needed to be done first. More relevant. I’d Pull the plug on someone who is in terrible pain and there’s no hope of getting better in my estimation, from someone who has asked me to make that decision for them. Yes again. In the same position I've asked my daughter, to the near tears of my son, to be responsible for that terrible decision. Because I believe women are stronger than men. Amazing what a full chromosome set adds to character. My son would lose sleep the probably for the rest of his life, as I would if it were my father. My daughter, and daughters would probably not. Women will put a pet down rather than wait for the last moment as a man will do with his dog, imo. And this strength is reflected in womankind in many very difficult situations. Else we wouldn't be here.
This is a nice bit of work. I wish the NSF would post challenge questions like this for high school youngsters rather than pay graduate students and award a prize or the best work, not result. There are too many other hard problems to research. If we did this, it would be a win win. This would result in a more experienced, more mature and more capable high school and college graduates than this example. Then again, I wouldn't create a caste system by labeling people by where they went to school school or school types or grades, which is silly when the real question is "can they do the job, and what are their Yelp reviews? which can only be determined by observation. Caste systems are at the root of all discrimination and grievance groups. Rather, you should hire for demonstrated judgement and intellect. Poor choices are seen by sober reflection in hindsight which is not true of much of the NSF funding. The NSF is of the peers, by the peers and for the peers. A lottery would likely have a better result per dollar invested, and I wouldn't invest much save sort the Principal investigators by citations, pay for roughly the number of great graduate students they've graduated in the past, and use the lottery to choose among the proposals.

Unknown said...

Part 2 of 2.

Where I wouldn’t discriminate the supposed good from the bad, and largely remove the of the peers by the peers for the peers and the half determined by politics than any other rational metric. Though I understand how important It is to balance political influence with the ability to sell we the people‘s representatives on the level of funding and duration of funding. Remembering Congress can only obligate funds for one year. My kind of Term Limits. Ditto we should do the same for Title 18, and if that’s too much work, draw lots for which paragraph we’d re- run-through the legislative and have that representive stand for election that next year based on wha5 they chose to put in Title 18, overring precedent which is not in the constitution, or law, it’s just being lazy.
Without some continuity there is no research beyond what a free people and their free enterprise will fund, which could well be none given the putting the least fit outside the igloo challenge again because who am I to judge value who should make the ultimate sacrifice, better to draw lots. Otherwise I might kill the one who might well save the entire tribe later. This why a market, voting with your pocketbook and feet always has the best result imo, and if that’s not possible a flip of a coin. Because then you are wrong only half the time as we randomly walk into the future
If I had to choose a label, which I refuse to do, as part of choosing to do what must be done. I’m a transactional libertarian, As I as think our host is, as was Dame Thatcher. we mostly tilt towards liberty and letting human nature take its course in letting people learn by trial and failure, being responsible for their actions, suffering the results of their actions, good and bad, heroic and not, while providing a good education, drawing on personal experience and pointing at reading I recommend and why, answering to the best of my ability, without saying this is required reading. Which by action, favoring use of the Socratic method. I vote republican over a poorly defined by example democrat. Some Democrats are outstanding by my metrics, some Republicans stinkers. And Judge Moore is not a stinker because I can't judge. So, there are truly abhorrent by other's judgment, things in this life That I will put up with. And I enjoy a good tragedy in using the Greek definition where we wittingly do something that we know will have a bad end. Sleeping with your mother? This will not end well. Which reminds me of our feet of clay, and the unchanging nature of the human condition. And why humility is important, and why at some time in my, and others life to be beaten to pulp intellectually by a peer preferably, and only in the absence of that someone in position or power, a teacher unable to create the peer against peer conflict required, usually by education systems that sort and compete students against each other, so every intellect is humbled and understands the life of most others, including the least of us, something that imo Was missing in Bill Clinton’s childhood. I wager he never failed at anything leaving a whole in his character development. He is A Brilliant Intellect that did not rise to his full potential. Not his fault, but how he was educated family thru school, and his first job and boss. Enough for now. My apologies for the length of this disquisition but it’s seldom a topic presses so many of my buttons.

Dr.D said...

I scored 76% Democrat, and I am the most conservative person that I know. I think this test is based on utter nonsense and wishful thinking (in other words, it is biased).

DEEBEE said...

Anne, reading you for years makes me believe I am more conservative than you are. If one can capture this on a 1-dimensional scale. I score a 72% democrat. Go figure.
Wonder whether the test is premised on a liberal's perception of what conservatives are.

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