Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Political Viewpoints Linked To Fear

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the scaredy-cats-and-retards-the-new-political-parties dept.

Science 800

Pentagram writes "Researchers writing in Science report that the political orientation of test subjects who have strong views is linked to how easy they are to startle. They found that subjects who were more fearful were more likely to have right wing views, such as being in favor of capital punishment and higher defense budgets. The researchers suggest that this psychological difference is why it is so difficult to change people's minds in political arguments."

cancel ×

800 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

In related news... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077817)

Easily startled people carry guns, so be careful out there!

Re:In related news... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078245)

Really, people -- mod parent insightful. It is indeed a scary world.

Re:In related news... (-1, Troll)

Evilest Doer (969227) | about 6 years ago | (#25078327)

Really, people -- mod parent insightful. It is indeed a scary world.

Yeah, well easily scared pussies like you usually wind up bound with duct date and throat fucked until you suffocate and die!

damn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077841)

I just took a massive shit. It must have been that foot long subway sub I had yesterday. I didn't expect such a huge fucking log exiting my asshole. It feels slightly weird now.

Re:damn (1, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#25077875)

Try chewing your food next time.

Re:damn (0, Offtopic)

alexborges (313924) | about 6 years ago | (#25077911)

This is one of the best posts i have ever seen.

Fear leads to hate... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077847)

Hate leads to Anger... Anger leads to killing George Lucas for some really bad movies.

Re:Fear leads to hate... (1, Funny)

Evilest Doer (969227) | about 6 years ago | (#25077971)

Hate leads to Anger... Anger leads to killing George Lucas for some really bad movies.

So, hate is good?

Re:Fear leads to hate... (2, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 6 years ago | (#25078241)

It's a democracy. Vote to have the three prequels expunged from the planet and done over by Joss Whedon and Rockne O'Bannon.

So in other words... (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | about 6 years ago | (#25077851)

Republicans are cowards.

Yeah this discussion is going to go well...

Re:So in other words... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077961)

Strictly speaking, fear doesn't make one a coward. Acting only on that fear is what makes one a coward.

Re:So in other words... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077999)

in other words, Republicans are cowards.

Re:So in other words... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077991)

As much as I appreciate the humor, I don't think acting out of a perceived need of self preservation is how I would define cowardice.

NPR has the scoop (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 6 years ago | (#25078013)

So in other words... Republicans are cowards.

The researchers commented on this situation on NPR this morning. Yes, you could potentially see Republicans that way. But the researchers suggested that you could also see Democrats as "lacking in a basic sense of self-preservation."

The researchers went on to say that they don't believe that either label is appropriate. Rather, they hope both sides will use this information to better understand one another.

From my own perspective, I feel that it's also worth pointing out that both sides tend to follow their ideals. It's not like Republicans tend to avoid military service after demanding it, and it's not like Democrats seek military service due to a lack of self-preservation. The two sides merely react to certain stimulus, but the actual psychology of the drive is obviously more complex. Which leads me to my next point.

The researchers suggest that this psychological difference is why it is so difficult to change people's minds in political arguments.

Many of the other researchers interviewed by NPR were skeptical of these findings. Their belief was that the study failed to show that these responses were set biologically and not by environmental stimuli. So in fact, it may be that Republicans are more suspicious of attacks than Democrats due to their environmental training. Which certainly seems more likely than dividing people up into "cowards" and "idiot-savants".

Re:NPR has the scoop (5, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | about 6 years ago | (#25078091)

Do a search on:

"The Power of Nightmares..."

Its six hours long, but well worth the time.

Re:NPR has the scoop (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#25078109)

Fear and cowardice.

Courage and strength.

Contrasting values.

I guess the old saying is true, then... (5, Interesting)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 6 years ago | (#25078049)

"A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged" - I guess the message there is supposed to be "having been mugged and now being familiar with the true nature of the world around them, they learned that the ideals they formerly embraced were foolishly misguided" but I always read it more as "having been mugged they allowed fear to take over their lives, replacing their sense of justice with a more Machiavellian approach to the world."

The other way arround (1)

DrYak (748999) | about 6 years ago | (#25078131)

Just wave a terrorist-on-stick in front of them and suddenly everyone turns into a right-wing extremist republican.

Re:So in other words... (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 6 years ago | (#25078309)

Parent does not deserve the flamebait mod. He merely called out the conclusion implied by the summary and sarcastically mentioned that this thread was headed for disaster. I'm not sure what other conclusion he should have reached?

I'm as lefty as they come (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | about 6 years ago | (#25077867)

...and I'm also extremely easy to startle.

Oh well, by this point I guess I should be used to being an anomaly in the data.

Re:I'm as lefty as they come (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077995)

I guess it depends on what scares/startles you. If it's crime or other people in general then I would expect that lends your mindset towards authoritarianism and traditional right wing ideals. On the other hand if what scares you are hulking monolith corporate entities and unaccountable governments it's not hard to see that you'll probably be leaning leftwards.

Re:I'm as lefty as they come (0, Flamebait)

ObjetDart (700355) | about 6 years ago | (#25078155)

Actually what mostly scares me is Republicans.

Pssst, c'mere... (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | about 6 years ago | (#25078063)

BOO! Hahaha.

Re:Pssst, c'mere... (3, Funny)

ObjetDart (700355) | about 6 years ago | (#25078127)

AIGH!!!

goddammit I spilt my coffee again...

Re:Pssst, c'mere... (3, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | about 6 years ago | (#25078231)

That does it you bastard, I'm voting for McCain!

Re:I'm as lefty as they come (1)

Firehed (942385) | about 6 years ago | (#25078257)

I'm easy to startle, too. It doesn't mean a damn thing until I start paying a bodyguard to prevent people from startling me. You can be jumpy without having it dominate your life and your actions.

naturally (1)

yuri82 (236251) | about 6 years ago | (#25077877)

We learn to avoid danger as we grow up and experience the world, and that is what shapes who we are. Sometimes we become extra fearful of silly things, and thats how we get phobias.

Re:naturally (2, Funny)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 6 years ago | (#25078147)

Arr... ye need not be fearin' silly things t' have a phobia, me hearty. Acrophobia be a very sensible fear, fer example.

You don't say! (0, Troll)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 6 years ago | (#25077883)

People get paid to work that out???

Liberal fears vs Conservative fears (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077885)

How is being in favor of Capital Punishment and Higher Defense budgets fearful when compared to all the liberals pushing Universal Healthcare and cradle to grave entitlements based on the fear that you may have to go it alone in this world if nana gov't isn't there to wipe your arse!!?

Re:Liberal fears vs Conservative fears (1)

spun (1352) | about 6 years ago | (#25078103)

Eh, you fail reading comprehension. Nowhere did the article or summary claim that wanting capital punishment or higher defense (Important Enough to Capitalize!) made one fearful. The gist is, if you are easy to startle, you are more likely to be conservative. That's all.

Re:Liberal fears vs Conservative fears (1)

eiceic (1362107) | about 6 years ago | (#25078275)

By nana gov't I assume you are talking about the the extra 100k federal employees protecting my homeland and various agencies orchestrating bailouts in the trillions of dollars to make sure we don't lose any savings?

Fear (1)

ericspinder (146776) | about 6 years ago | (#25077889)

So, liberals are the least fearful. While right wingers are the most jumpy. Wow, this article (and my comment) is going to have some serious down mods.

Ahoy, depends on the way the questions war asked.. (1)

iamwhoiamtoday (1177507) | about 6 years ago | (#25077893)

Aye, me mean, tis' possible t' phrase the same question multiple diffarnt ways, and each time, gettin' a diffarnt answer from the same person. Tis' called "Politics" Ye'll ne'er get me buried booty!

Obvious (1)

PhasmatisApparatus (1086395) | about 6 years ago | (#25077907)

First, they were attached to equipment to measure skin conductivity, which rises with emotional stress as the moisture level in skin goes up. Each participant was shown threatening images, such as a bloody face interspersed with innocuous pictures of things such as bunnies, and rise in skin conductance in response to the shocking image was measured. Those who lean towards the left are more likely to frequent Slashdot, and are therefore used to the occasional goatse.

And I'm sure... (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | about 6 years ago | (#25077913)

...the timing of this article is a complete coincidence.

Re:And I'm sure... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 6 years ago | (#25078325)

...the timing of this article is a complete coincidence.

I'm afraid of the implications if it wasn't ::whimpers::

So Obvious (4, Interesting)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | about 6 years ago | (#25077915)

In retrospect.... I'm in the UK, and the more right-wing the paper, the more knee-jerk to headlines.

I guess it's also what gives the conservatives (small c) that weird advantage in polls- their always more likely to be 'in tune' with the masses, because their opinions are always more likely to have been formed off the back of the most recent scare story.

yeah right (wing) (3, Insightful)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#25077917)

I think being startled has much more to do with the ability to concentrate than with fear.

I am the most startled person I know... If I am concentrating on something, I make a total vacuum, I block all my senses... if at that point I am distracted by someone I will jump a foot in the air and scream. I don't consider myself fearful though.

Right wing in the US has, for most of its existence, been isolationist and thus favored less military rather than more. I don't believe there's any connection.

All in all, this research is probably crap.

Re:yeah right (wing) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078025)

> Right wing in the US has, for most of its existence, been isolationist and thus favored less military rather than more.

In whose alternate universe? Or are you talking pre ... what ... Spanish American war? The right wing in the US has a fantasy of itself that it never comes close to. Instead of small government you get GWB .... instead of freedom you got J Edgar Hoover. A weird level of denial there.

Re:yeah right (wing) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078217)

Nice try, no cigar.

The right wing in the U.S. has always been very aggressive with respect to military use, particularly overseas. They want a BIGGER military, with MORE military spending, not smaller/less. "Isolationism" deals more with trade than with military use. An isolationist policy is one that reduces international trade and commerce. You can be an isolationist and still go nuts and invade other countries.

If you have trouble getting your mind around this, think back to Ronald "Star Wars" Reagan, who rode out the end of the cold war by spending so astonishingly much on bizarre military projects that the Russians went bankrupt trying to keep up with us. Reagan was as right-wing as they come. He wasn't an isolationist or anything, but he WAS right-wing.

One last point: isolationist != right wing. At best, the two groups might overlap a bit.

Re:yeah right (wing) (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 6 years ago | (#25078281)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Right_(United_States) [wikipedia.org]

(I am not "Old Right Winger", just pointing out that Right and Left are moving categories and thus doubtfully represent fundamental human traits)

Re:yeah right (wing) (1)

einer (459199) | about 6 years ago | (#25078289)

Way to dismiss, out of hand, a viewpoint that causes you fear.

Right wing = fear? (2, Insightful)

wvdmc (1227780) | about 6 years ago | (#25077927)

They could startle easier because they're cowards. Or maybe they're just more situationally aware because they're not high.

Re:Right wing = fear? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 6 years ago | (#25077955)

Or maybe they're just more situationally aware because they're not high.

As opposed to drunk?

Re:Right wing = fear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078187)

I didn't realize Ted Kennedy was in the Republican Party!

Re:Right wing = fear? (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 6 years ago | (#25078259)

I love the fact you guys haven't come up with any new put downs since 1962. It's cute. Like your grandma talking about HeeHaw.

Re:Right wing = fear? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078357)

Maybe if the left had changed since 1962 we might come up with new insults!

Mirrors my experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077973)

While there are plenty of intelligent and insightful right-winged folks out there with good ideas, this observation mirrors my own experience with your joe-average "I am a Republican" type.

Perhaps the tag "icouldhavetoldyouthat" would be good.

Is politics related to desensitizing? (0, Flamebait)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 6 years ago | (#25077977)

Do you think there is a correlation also to the fact that TV shows and Video Games [physorg.com] desensitize people to real-world violence? Do right wingers play and watch less violence than left wingers? Thus ... the right-wingers have not been desensitized and have more to fear and the left wingers have been desentized and fear nothing?

Re:Is politics related to desensitizing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078099)

No sorry I play a lot of video games and watch a lot of violence and I still vote republican because Democrats are weak on defense. Clinton did't do anything after the 93 world trade center bombing, he did't do much after the USS Cole bombing. So I will not vote for a democrat till they prove they have the balls to pull the trigger. Also I am tired of my hard earned money going to lazy people. Life is hard get use to it.

Common sense? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25077985)

I am a libertarian, and I tend to think that this is more common sense. If you are not afraid, then defense is not a high priority. If you feel afraid, then suddenly defending yourself becomes much more important. That the desire for greater defense spending increases as fear increases is common sense.

Capital punishment could be viewed in a similar vein, though I wonder if the correlation is as strong. Some people think that capital punishment is more effective than the alternatives.

Other issues, such as gun rights, also play into fear. Scared people are more likely to want to defend themselves.

Free market economics? I don't really see how fear could be used to promote that. In fact, I'd expect the opposite.

Re:Common sense? (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25078081)

Unrelated; why is hating gun rights a liberal position? It seems more the sort of thing that conservatives would oppose.

I mean, I'm as liberal as they come but I do like the idea of owning a gun.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Vancorps (746090) | about 6 years ago | (#25078291)

Because it's not a liberal position? Seriously, gun hating was a democratic line item in the 70s and in the 80's when there was a lot of gun violence in America. This was when the democratic party was considered liberal and when being liberal became a bad word. The democratic party is now more conservative than the republican party on almost all current issues. Of course with the old issues republicans are holding fast ie. Roe v Wade.

As a contrast, I come from a very liberal state where civil unions exist and almost all Vermonters love their guns. Howard Dean, ranks kind of high in the democratic rank was our governor for a great many years and also supports such right advocating education rather than prohibition. In Vermont you learn how to use a gun properly and then surprise surprise you don't wind up with a lot of kids shooting themselves or others by accident.

Re:Common sense? (1)

jcr (53032) | about 6 years ago | (#25078321)

I'm as liberal as they come but I do like the idea of owning a gun.

Like Carl Rowan, Rosie O'Donnel, and Dianne Feinstein?

The hollywood and DC line on gun control tends to be that they want to disarm everyone but themselves (or their goons, if guns are too icky to carry themselves.)

-jcr

Re:Common sense? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 6 years ago | (#25078333)

Agreed. I got marked down in a mock government for being liberal and approving of slackening gun control laws because it wasn't part of the party platform. I think it's just a concession to a very vocal minority and for the most part people just ignore them.

Re:Common sense? (1)

m50d (797211) | about 6 years ago | (#25078365)

Because the basic premise of liberal economic policy is that it's OK to abridge the rights of the individual (to a certain extent) for the good of society. So the economic left naturally favours gun control, environmentalist legislation, socialized healthcare etc.

What's a lot more paradoxical is why the economic right is socially restrictive - you'd expect the right to be in favour of drug legalization, anti-censorship, lowering the age of consent etc.

Point and counterpoint (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | about 6 years ago | (#25078017)

Yes, the fact that politics is in large part driven by fear is nothing new. So why is this interesting?

It is interesting to science. There is a marked difference between what we "know" intuitively. In a lot of cases, the intuitive answer happens to be true. Science progresses because we question the obvious. They basically strengthened an assumption. The problem with this is that the media gets these kinds of news wrong. The media doesn't know how to interpret this correctly. Cue the bruhaha about scientists confirming something obvious again.

Re:Point and counterpoint (3, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25078237)

On a more rational (than my last post) note, how is it a defect to be more easily afraid? Fear is a GOOD thing when one is facing a real threat; it causes one to take actions to defend oneself (such as increasing military spending or reaching for a rock, as the case may be)

You could just as reasonably argue that liberals irrationally shrug off threats that are dangerous to them, and that they are incorrect, or make a more fair argument that people who hold extremist beliefs fair to accurately gauge risk.

Even if it is the liberals who are right and conservatives who are wrong here I hardly think you can call this a "disease", more a different worldview.

I'm a lot more scared of being abducted and held without trial by my own government than dying in a tiny terrorist attack; this is no more or less rational than someone with the opposite fears, and both are less rational than someone who is afraid of cars because of the risk of death.

Fear? Look in the mirror (0, Flamebait)

jmorris42 (1458) | about 6 years ago | (#25078021)

Talk about fear of competing ideas, you Libs need a mirror. Variations of this story appear here and on every libtard site every few weeks now, claiming conservative ideas are the result of mental defect. Because if you can keep that idea formly in yer heads you can justify the childish antics you guys normally do when exposed to a different set of ideas, shout it down. Because if the other side is mentally ill there isn't a reason to even allow them to speak.

To a liberal, 'diversity' is defined as all colors, gender identities and faiths all thinking exactly alike. Because the one thing liberalism can't tolerate is reasoned debate since the whole system is based on emotion.

No, I don't think liberalism is a mental illness in return. I think it is evil. You guys have free will, you chose the wrong side. Of course you convince yourselves that notions like good and evil are outdated because few will admit to serving evil so you solve that problem by handwaving the whole question away.

Re:Fear? Look in the mirror (4, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25078105)

No, MY beliefs are valid, not yours! Yours are silly and smell bad!

Invoke Godwin's law and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!

Re:Fear? Look in the mirror (3, Interesting)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 6 years ago | (#25078197)

What if I think being politically motivated at all is a mental illness?

Re:Fear? Look in the mirror (2, Insightful)

Vancorps (746090) | about 6 years ago | (#25078213)

I'm sorry, but what have you been smoking? I think I need some. People defined as liberal are rarely if ever the ones shouting down the opposition. If anything they like to talk everything out too much so nothing ever gets done. This is why the democratic party is so fragmented and why they frequently lose in elections because they don't have solidarity.

You seem to be describing the current republican party labeling descent as unAmerican or non-patriotic. As Stephen Colbert likes to say, "Why do you hate America?"

There is no mental defect in either way of thinking, there are well reasoned debaters on both sides and there are really bad opinions on both sides. What childish antics are you referring to when referring to "liberals?" I'm honestly curious because it's entirely possible I've been hiding in a cave the last 8 years.

Re:Fear? Look in the mirror (5, Insightful)

Bearpaw (13080) | about 6 years ago | (#25078219)

Talk about fear of competing ideas, you Libs need a mirror. Variations of this story appear here and on every libtard site every few weeks now, claiming conservative ideas are the result of mental defect. Because if you can keep that idea formly in yer heads you can justify the childish antics you guys normally do when exposed to a different set of ideas, shout it down. Because if the other side is mentally ill there isn't a reason to even allow them to speak.

To a liberal, 'diversity' is defined as all colors, gender identities and faiths all thinking exactly alike. Because the one thing liberalism can't tolerate is reasoned debate since the whole system is based on emotion.

No, I don't think liberalism is a mental illness in return. I think it is evil. You guys have free will, you chose the wrong side. Of course you convince yourselves that notions like good and evil are outdated because few will admit to serving evil so you solve that problem by handwaving the whole question away.

Wow, your sane, calm, and carefully-reasoned response has totally convinced me.

I hope that they didn't try with weapon owners (1)

kabocox (199019) | about 6 years ago | (#25078045)

I hope that they didn't try this test with weapon owners... There is a strong part of me that thinks that everyone needs to be trained in either martial arts or using some type of small arms weapon... (be it a knife, sword, gun, mace, tazer, or nerf bat.) just in case anyone decides to pick on you or just slightly annoys you, that it'd be socially acceptable to instantly beat them within an inch of their lives... The lesson to be learned is don't startle/annoy people that have weapons unless you want to win a darwin award.

I learned from my brother that if you want to stop annoying behavior a quick punch in the face is the quickest safest course of action. Of course, the best long term solution to stop being bothered by my brothers annoying behavior was to go off to college and never ever move back in with the parents where said brothers lived.

What political party was that other than the don't annoy me or pick on me party? (note: I'd love to take a nerf bat or lighting bolts to any group that wants me to pay higher taxes for just about any reason. That I've got a good imagination and can envision all those groups getting violently removed from my life has kept me somewhat sane and out of jail. )

Re:I hope that they didn't try with weapon owners (1)

kidde_valind (1060754) | about 6 years ago | (#25078363)

Are you serious? A lot of people are annoyed by gays, PETA activists etc, while others are annoyed by gun nutters, conservatives etc. Almost nobody actively TRIES to annoy anybody (becase it isn't, as you say, socially acceptable). The world would be in a constant state of civil war because everybody would be beating the crap out of people that didn't fit into their view of the world.

Obvious (1)

PhasmatisApparatus (1086395) | about 6 years ago | (#25078047)

First, they were attached to equipment to measure skin conductivity, which rises with emotional stress as the moisture level in skin goes up. Each participant was shown threatening images, such as a bloody face interspersed with innocuous pictures of things such as bunnies, and rise in skin conductance in response to the shocking image was measured.

Those who lean towards the left are more likely to frequent Slashdot, and are therefore used to the occasional goatse.

Seriously, though, McCain admitting to not knowing how to send an email, and Governor Palin's poor choices of password/secret question illustrate what we have long suspected: Right-wingers are, by and large, less interested in the interwebs. Let us not forget Democratic Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens.

Perhaps a significant population of left-leaning individuals are more used to being rickrolled and whatnot.

It's a bit of a stretch, I'll admit.

This will be fun (0, Flamebait)

SoupGuru (723634) | about 6 years ago | (#25078051)

This is sure to be a well reasoned discussion.

The reason right wingers startle more easily is because they know their view of the world is a very selfish one and that makes them feel guilty. They go around expecting that eventually someone's going to jump out and call them on it so they're always on the defensive.

There, that's a good start.

Re:This will be fun (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078355)

mmhmmm, yeah, you're a clear thinker.

It goes both ways (5, Interesting)

Robotbeat (461248) | about 6 years ago | (#25078053)

This definitely affects Democrats, too. My father-in-law is a staunch democrat, and he's also very anxious all the time. It affects his political views because he worries greatly about things like health care and such, things which he thinks the gov't can protect us from.

There's a well-known saying: "A Democrat is a Republican who's been arrested, and a Republican is a Democrat who's been mugged."

I know that the saying works for me, too. My wife and I were the victims of gang violence (well, just some inner-city middle schoolers who broke our car window while we were in the car, causing my wife's face to bleed) and I definitely think it caused me to lean to the right, and more recently I was arrested (charges later dismissed) which caused me to not trust the police and lean to the left.

Now, I don't think I'm really on either side. The police aren't going to really do too much to you as long as you don't make their lives difficult, and I think I can handle myself and my family if the whole economy implodes. Politicians usually don't actually make you safer. Good neighbors, family, and friends do.

FEAR! (1, Offtopic)

Evilest Doer (969227) | about 6 years ago | (#25078059)

Goatse linked to FEAR! [goatse.cx]

Fear? Perhaps misweighted utility fxn? (3, Interesting)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | about 6 years ago | (#25078061)

It seems to me that much of the current war on * sham is based on irrational fears. It's well known that humans have difficulty understanding on a qualitative level very low and very high probabilities.

So, for example, people might be far more concerned about being killed in a 9/11 repeat (5000 people) rather than in an automobile accident (~20,000 p/yr), despite the latter being far more of a risk to them.

Of course there are reasons to fear the former more than the latter that are reasonable, such as placing more value on how one dies than if (I don't consider this unreasonable; I'd rather be shot by a stranger than my best friend)

Are you trying to tell me... (1)

not already in use (972294) | about 6 years ago | (#25078065)

Are you trying to tell me that Chuck Norris is easily startled? Cuz that is FUCKING BULLSHIT.

Re:Are you trying to tell me... (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | about 6 years ago | (#25078227)

He's very easy to startled. Unfortunately, nobody who has been around for such an occurrence has ever lived to tell about it.

Slashdot will publish bad science if. (0, Troll)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 6 years ago | (#25078073)

It supports their world view?
Talk about trash science.
"The authors first conducted a random telephone survey of Lincoln residents to find some who held strong political opinions. Then 46 selected respondents were invited to come in to the lab and fill in questionnaires to reveal political beliefs and personality traits. Participants were then given two types of tests to measure physiological responses to threat."

Let's see. A none random sample of 46 people? Yea that is some good hard science.

I think this is a great experiment on Slashdot.
Just how many people "Hard core science and self professed skeptics will question this? My guess is very few.

None random sample and a tiny sample size == USLESS!

Re:Slashdot will publish bad science if. (2, Informative)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 6 years ago | (#25078141)

They're not useless, they're just not reliable. They're important enough to warrant a larger study and find the real answer.

Makes sense (1)

foxalopex (522681) | about 6 years ago | (#25078077)

I suppose this makes sense. I mean think about it if you panic you are more likely to respond in force. It is probably a good instinct from when we were caveman as a last resort to save us from some wild animal trying to kill us. The bad news is of course we are in modern society now (I think) where those sort of things are less likely to happen and thinking it over before doing is a better course of action.

Bohahahah! (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | about 6 years ago | (#25078089)

Huh, I wonder what political viewpoints may correlate to me finding this news strangely satisfying.

I got someone I want to go "RAWR!" to and see how high they jump...

hehe (0, Troll)

nawcom (941663) | about 6 years ago | (#25078123)

The first thing I can think of when it comes to fear and conservatives is - being locked in a room with a gay person of the same sex.

To them, there's only one thing worse then burning eternally in hell - having a penis up your asshole.

Re:hehe (0, Flamebait)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | about 6 years ago | (#25078221)

Liberal, OTOH, cherish the prospect of being raped?

Conservative =Protective? (4, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | about 6 years ago | (#25078137)

FTA: "decided to test the idea that liberal and conservative (or "protective") social beliefs are related to individuals' sensitivity to threat."

So really what they tested was whether people who have more protective attitudes toward others react more to fear stimulus. Well, isn't that obvious? Correlation OR causation, it seems a pretty direct link that if you are afraid of something, you'd want to protect against it, and if you are afraid of more things, you'd want to protect against more things, and if the intensity of your fear is higher, the level of protection would increase.

So how on Earth did they translate that into "conservative" political views?

biological != innate (1)

plaut (42347) | about 6 years ago | (#25078143)

Why is it that people assume that biological = innate? All of a person's thoughts, emotions, decisions and actions are the result of the biological operation of the brain, whose operation is as much a function of learning and experience as it is genetics.

What do.... (1)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | about 6 years ago | (#25078153)

What does higher defence budgets and being pro-capital punishment have to do with being right wing (i.e. being in favour of commerce and small government)?

Did the most assuredly left-wing former communist nations have tiny proportional defence spending and no capital punishment?

Re:What do.... (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 6 years ago | (#25078251)

Where is the word "Communist" in United States of Socialist Republics or the People's Republic of China?

I believe the key words there are Republic, and Socialist.

very bad science (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | about 6 years ago | (#25078169)

as much as i'd like to have another reason why social authoritarianism is laughable, this is clearly an irrelevant study with a very small set of subjects, the statistics alone are flawed.

The debate is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078175)

The debate is over. Conservatism is a mental disorder, it should be banned, and the patients should be cured until they have nothing but the correct thoughts.

PLEASE DIE! (-1, Troll)

Evilest Doer (969227) | about 6 years ago | (#25078201)

I'm drunk and I want to fucking kill you all!

Politicians play off people's fears (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078209)

Politicians play off people's fears--it's been that way since been that way. The idea that there is a biological link involved only makes it even more deplorable.

Related Work (2, Interesting)

jrootham (170856) | about 6 years ago | (#25078211)

This introductory survey matches up nicely with Robert Altemeyer's more substantial body of work. See http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/ [umanitoba.ca]

The Evil Emperor was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078229)

Fear leads to anger...
Anger leads to hate...
Hate leads to suffering

And no, I'm not just trying to stick in a fun Star Wars quote here, this is a very serious observation.

People shape their reality based on their perception. People expecting rain buy umbrellas. People expecting war buy guns.

Our society is bred and steeped in fear. And the most fearful are in the safest parts of the world anyway (probably in response to their fear). And in a society where our leaders can come from virtually anywhere, anyone can bring their born & bred fears with them up to the city council, the state capital, or to the white house... the very same fears with which they grew up.

And what comes from those fears? Reactions! Only when one is in a position of power, they can buy bigger umbrellas to cover their cities and states... or buy bigger guns that they can afford on taxpayer dollars.

Imagine a government without fear...

Political Viewpoints - My Blue Heaven (1)

Evilest Doer (969227) | about 6 years ago | (#25078265)

When whippoorwills call and evening is nigh,
I hurry to my Blue Heaven.
A turn to the right, a little white light,
Will lead me to my Blue Heaven.

I'll see a smiling face, a fireplace, a cozy room,
A little nest that nestles where the roses bloom;
Just Julie and me, and baby makes three,
We're happy in my Blue Heaven.

You know I'm gonna see a smiling face, a fireplace, a cozy room,
A little nest that nestles where the roses bloom;
Just Julie and me, and baby makes three,
We're happy in my Blue Heaven.

Whoever finds the Higgs Boson should get a good throat fucking!

A bit skewed, but so is (1)

jhfry (829244) | about 6 years ago | (#25078277)

the Republican party.

It used to be that the right was all about a smaller FEDERAL government (not necessarily smaller government). Then as time went on, both parties used scare tactics to gain votes. The right convinced us we would all die, the world would end, and our children would all be crippled unless...

Anyway, the point is, it's not that the fearful gravitate to the right, but that the right uses fear to attract the fearful. After all, when you were afraid of the dark as a child you didn't want your parents to tell you there was nothing to be afraid of. You wanted them to hide under your covers with you. (Most parents fall somewhere in the middle).

People who are afraid of something are usually most comforted by those who are afraid of the same thing... that way they can watch each others back.

Ever wonder why social conservatives lean right politically? Wouldn't large government and lots of regulation be better to enforce socially conservative ideals? After all the more control a government has, the more they are likely to force morals on their people (look at the middle east, China, Nazi's). The more free we are of government influence, the more free we are to express ourselves socially. Regulating anything (abortion, marriage, sex education, etc...) are all very leftist ideas! But the right was always about fear... fear big government, fear taxes, fear communists, fear, fear, fear. Social conservatism is all about fear too... fear change, fear uniqueness, fear god, fear science, fear fear fear.

Fear attracts fear!

Hey guys, remember when... (1)

ebbomega (410207) | about 6 years ago | (#25078285)

"Right-wing" was linked to conservatism?

When did it start equating to military rule?

fearful or thoughtful? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078297)

Liberals do not use their brains therefore there is no fear response.

Alternate interpretation (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078329)

Perhaps conservatives are not more easily frightened, but rather simply are more attentive to their surroundings and not as distant and out-of-touch as liberals. After all , ingestion of THC probably plays a large role in the slow response time that liberals show to stimulus.... uhh, like wow man.

explains so much (1, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | about 6 years ago | (#25078347)

I've always wondered why Republicans didn't believe that Americans had the courage to risk death by terrorism rather than give up our liberty. It turns out it's really that they don't have the courage to stand up to that fear because of their biology. That's a great relief, as it implies a social program of reinforcing bravery rather than cowardice might be able to reverse their tendencies to cave in. And not only that, they should be in favor of such a program, because they generally revere bravery as a virtue (perhaps because of a lack of same).

This could really be a turning point for democracy, as we've identified the source of one of the greatest dangers it faces.

Just as I suspected... (1)

liquiddark (719647) | about 6 years ago | (#25078351)

All the McCain/Harper supporters really need is a good dose of therapy!

Of course, fear is a healthy thing, a survival instinct if you will, so maybe the Obama/Layton supporters need to take a good look at their lives and realize they've been living a lie.

That leaves Canada with Stephane Dion, and the US with...the invisible man. Which is about the same thing, really.

Fear for self - or concern for others? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25078353)

Perhaps it isn't fear as much as it is concern for the welfare of the person they see with the bloody face.
Perhaps they have a more sincere reaction to someone suffering.

Further evidence that liberals just don't care. They're too self-absorbed and self-involved to care what happens to anyone else. So . . . they play up the charade of government assistance through taxation so they can feel good about themselves without actually devoting any time to helping anyone or getting personally involved.

Don't believe me liberals?

When was the last time you donated to the IRS above and beyond what you were taxed?

Then shut up.
: )

(start flames here)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>