The Cat in the Cradle Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree?, or, Advances in Behavioral Science


A Berkeley professor finds that whiny, insecure kids grow up to be conservatives–in Berkeley, at least. In that context, it's hard to imagine that growing up right-wing wouldn't be some sign of a staunch independence of character and unwillingness to go with the herd. Still, Dr. Jack Block says

The whiny kids [he started following in the 1960s in Berkeley nursery schools] tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.

The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.
There was a .27 correlation between being self-reliant in nursery school and being a liberal as an adult. Another way of saying it is that self-reliance predicts statistically about 7 per cent of the variance between kids who became liberal and those who became conservative. (If every self-reliant kid became a liberal and none became conservatives, it would predict 100 per cent of the variance). Seven per cent is fairly strong for social science, but it still leaves an awful lot of room for other influences, such as friends, family, education, personal experience and plain old intellect.

[Link via Rational Review.]