Flashback Friday: Study finds conservatives have more self control than liberals.

By Seriously Science | June 9, 2017 6:00 am
Image: Flickr/DonkeyHotey

Image: Flickr/DonkeyHotey

We’ve reported on a number of studies that try to address the question of what makes people liberal or conservative, and here’s another to add to the pile. These researchers found that one difference between liberals and conservatives seems to be self-control–apparently conservatives have more! And this is not just any old correlation; the relationship seems to stem from the conservative ideology that people can choose their outcome in life. When this belief was experimentally reinforced, conservatives exhibited more self control, and less after reading a paragraph explaining how free will leads to frustration and unhappiness (see below for the full text of the paragraph). But there is one thing we hope everyone has enough self-control to do: don’t forget to vote!

The self-control consequences of political ideology.

“Evidence from three studies reveals a critical difference in self-control as a function of political ideology. Specifically, greater endorsement of political conservatism (versus liberalism) was associated with greater attention regulation and task persistence. Moreover, this relationship is shown to stem from varying beliefs in freewill; specifically, the association between political ideology and self-control is mediated by differences in the extent to which belief in freewill is endorsed, is independent of task performance or motivation, and is reversed when freewill is perceived to impede (rather than enhance) self-control. Collectively, these findings offer insight into the self-control consequences of political ideology by detailing conditions under which conservatives and liberals are better suited to engage in self-control and outlining the role of freewill beliefs in determining these conditions.”

This is the text that study particpants in the “freewill is not helpful” group read before completing their tasks:

“Across a series of papers spanning 50 years, the belief in freewill was consistently shown to increase participants’ feelings of frustration and anxiety. These feelings, in turn, undermined (i.e., weakened) selfcontrol. Thus, research consistently demonstrates that the lack of belief in one’s responsibility over his or her actions is incredibly beneficial for self-control.”

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: politics schmolitics
  • Cliff Clavin

    This is a no-brainer. Look at what conservatives do when the government does something they don’t like. They don’t get up and march, protest, riot, and throw stones at police. For the most part they just quietly complain and move on.

    On the other hand Liberals are offended everything and will protest anything, and most of those protests lead to riots and arrests and 100’s of thousands if not millions of dollars in costs and damage.

    How often do you see conservatives arrested versus liberals? Conservatives don’t get arrested very often because for the most part they’re not out protesting.

    • OWilson

      This finding doesn’t jibe with the perception that conservatives are more militant, while liberals are more associated with pacifism. (Churchill vs Chamberlain)

      More study needed? :)

      • RalphCramden

        Liberals have done a really great job of painting conservatives as radical revolutionaries and because conservatives are rather quiet by nature they don’t defend themselves. Kind of like the bully in school that intimidates other kids who don’t fight back. But with the majority of governorships, state legislatures, the presidency, the Senate and House and now the Supreme Court in the hands of conservatives it is causing the left to scream even louder. Liberals are like spoiled children that through a temper tantrum when they don’t get their way.

        In reality conservatives just want to live their lives and don’t see a lot of problems with the way things are. Liberals want to change things all the time. The rules are constantly changing and as a business person I fin that frustrating. Over a decade ago I moved my business out of the state I live in because of all the regulations that were constantly changing. Many years ago I moved the whole business out of the US and have made a lot more money as I have avoided, legally, the excessive US taxes and regulations. I should have done that decades ago. I would have a lot more money and way less headaches.

        The country that my business is in doesn’t mess with the system and I can’t think of any changes they have made in the last 10 years. It’s pretty consistent when it comes to business. That is something that the US lacks.

        At any rate the liberals are losing at almost every front and they are having tons of protests/riots and that makes their plight every worse as the moderates start to look at them and slowly distance themselves from there emotional behavior.

        Now Trump is another issue all together. He is an idiot and is doing nothing but damage for the conservatives who voted for him. At least he is better than Hillary, but not by much.

        • OWilson

          They are good at “sharing” wealth, not so good at “creating” it.

          That’s why from time to time good socialist countries, elect a Thatcher, a Reagan, or a Trump.

          If liberal policies worked, conservative politicians would not exist!

          • Cliff Clavin

            It also appears that liberals are good at tracking down, selecting and shooting at conservatives.

          • OWilson

            Individual nut cases of all stripes, are out there.

            We could hope that that Left Wing politicians, and their MSM, could cool their hateful rhetoric against a duly elected President, who is innocent of any charges of collusion, obstruction of justice, or stealing cookies from schoolchildren.

            That is Banana Republic, USSR, Cuban and North Korean behavior, unprecedented in the U.S.A.

            (my own fave Banana Republic third world country is far too civilized for that, which is why I am moving there) :)

          • Cliff Clavin

            The US will not last. Every major nation on Earth has failed. None have lasted more than a few hundred years. Most of them decay from within. The US is decaying from within and my guess is that it will die from lack of funds as government seems to have a penchant for spending more money that we bring in. Illinois is a great example of a state that will be insolvent at the rate they are going. That will have a significant impact on the rest of the US and maybe the world.

            As the US declines there will be more and more violent responses to political moves. As the left seemed to take power there were more violent attacks by the right and when the right was in power the left was responsible for the violent attacks. Now that the majority of governors, state houses, Senate, House, Presidency and Supreme Court are controlled by the right I am sure the left will increase their violent attacks. At least if history is any indicator of future events. The leftist riots since Trump was elected is a big red flag from where I sit. The power in government has shifted and the left is not taking it well.

          • OWilson

            The barbarians and savages that kill democracy, civilization and freedom are not “them”, they are “us”.

          • Cliff Clavin

            I don’t include myself as being among them. I vote down everything that makes government bigger, stronger and restricts freedom.

          • OWilson

            Too late!

            “They” will very soon outnumber “you”. :)

          • http://secure51.com Jack Walker

            I get the job done from ease of my house, through very simple activities which only requires from you a Laptop and also on-line connection and Now I am more successful than ever before… After 6 months in this job opportunity and also i obtained cash in total 36 thousand us dollars… Basically I generate close to eighty bucks/h and also work for three to four hrs day-after-day.And outstanding point relating to this task is the fact you can also manage time and effort when you do the job and for how much time as you wish for and you generate a check every week.>>>> VZTURL.COM/bnk55

          • Cliff Clavin

            We have acreage with solar water pump, large water storage, year round green house that produces all the food we need, cattle, sheep, and all of our survival supplies. Plus plenty of guns and ammo to protect our spot if necessary. We even have an underground storage/shelter if necessary that doubles as a root cellar.

            It is way outside the city so any rioting and looting will not affect us. That will be a city problem. The urban populace is way to lazy to come out to our remote paradise.

            “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy…” Alexander Tytler

          • OWilson

            Your Founding Fathers warned that “a free and unbiased press”, and and armed civilians were necessary to keep the Treasury out of the hands of unscrupulous opportunists.

            One down, only one more to go! :)

            By the way, the other half of that quote goes, “Great nations rise and fall. The people go from bondage to spiritual truth, to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back again to bondage.

            Your society is at 9 on a scale of 10.

            It’s over!


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