Moral stereotypes about "typical" liberals and conservatives held by both groups are generally correct, but exaggerated both for their own group and the other, according to new research published December 12 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Jesse Graham at the University of Southern California and his colleagues at the University of Virginia and New York University.
The researchers asked 2,212 U.S participants to answer questions about moral beliefs either with their own views, or with their idea of a typical liberal or conservative person's answers. They found that liberals endorsed individualistic moral concerns of compassion and fairness more than conservatives, and conservatives endorsed group-focused concerns such as loyalty and respect for authority. Across the political spectrum, participants' responses correctly reflected the moral endorsements of "typical" liberals and conservatives, but increased the extremity of the views. The authors found that these perceived stereotypes exaggerated the moral ideologies of both the respondent's own group as well as that of the other group, and that liberals were least accurate about the views held by both groups.
Graham explains, "Rather than finding that liberals think conservatives are immoral, and conservatives think the same about liberals, we found that all three groups shared exaggerated moral stereotypes about partisans on either side. These moral stereotypes were basically that liberals don't care at all about loyalty, authority, and sanctity, and that conservatives don't care at all about compassion, fairness, and equality. The findings suggest that liberals and conservatives, while differing systematically in their moral worldviews, are actually more similar in their moral judgments than anyone thinks."
Graham J, Nosek BA, Haidt J (2012) The Moral Stereotypes of Liberals and Conservatives: Exaggeration of Differences across the Political Spectrum. PLoS ONE 7(12): e50092. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050092
Public Library of Science: http://www.plos.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
UN assistant secretary general says deadly outbreak, which has been blamed on UN troops, demands decisive action
Caffeine is the drug many of us can't live without – but do you have any idea how much is in your daily hit?
Warmer temperatures are causing malaria to spread in the African and South American highlands, traditionally havens from the disease, scientists say.
How best to achieve success is a highly contentious issue, but politicians should remember that a good start in life is key
A second child seems to have been cleared of the AIDS virus, thanks to heavy-duty drugs started just hours after birth. This spring researchers plan to test that approach in 60 more newborns.
A report finds that azodicarbonamide wasn't just in Subway's bread: It's in hundreds of foods. While it has been linked to asthma in factory workers, the additive poses no known risk to consumers.
Army initiative to research suicides in the US military released its first three studiesAmanda Holpuch
The luxury fibre can be fashioned into screws and plates that could hold broken bones together while they heal, before biodegrading when no longer needed
Middle-aged people on a high-protein diet are at greater risk of dying from cancer, claims a study, but critics say firm evidence is lacking
In an exclusive interview with National Geographic, Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, shares her concerns about the consequences of legalizing the drug.