Your Personality and Your Vote

|

ScienceDaily is running a press release featuring the insights of New Hampshire University psychologist John Mayer who details the personality traits that incline voters in either liberal or conservative directions:

Liberals:

  • View social inequities and preferred groups as unjust and requiring reform.
  • Prefer atheists, tattoos, foreign films and poetry.
  • Endorse gay unions, welfare, universal health care, feminism and environmentalism.
  • Exhibit creativity, which entails the capacity to see solutions to problems, and empathy toward others.
  • Tolerate complexity and ambiguity.
  • Are influenced by their work as judges, social workers, professors and other careers for which an appreciation of opposing points of view is required.

Conservatives:

  • Willing to defend current social inequities and preferred groups as justifiable or necessary.
  • Prefer prayer, religious people and SUVs.
  • Endorse the U.S. government, the military, the state they live in, big corporations and most Americans.
  • Are more likely to be a first-born, who identify more with their parents, predisposing them to a greater investment in authority and a preference for conservatism.
  • Have a fear of death, reflecting an enhanced need for security.
  • Are conscientious – the ability to exert personal self-control to the effect of meeting one's own and others' demands, and maintaining personal coherence.
  • Need simplicity, clarity and certainty.

So are you an empathetic and creative Obama voter or a fearful and simplicity-craving McCain supporter? Or do some psychologists have a certain unacknowledged preference for simplicity and clarity when it comes to politics? 

Some of my other reporting on pathologizing conversatives here.

NEXT: Ralph Nader, Performance Artist

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I like these generalities for groups of people that number in the many tens of millions.

    How is psychology better than astrology, Tarot-cards, and spoon-bending? Discuss.

  2. How is psychology better than astrology, Tarot-cards, and spoon-bending?

    I’m sure it’s more lucrative for its practitioners.

  3. Never realized that preferring SUVs was a personality trait.

  4. As a libertarian first born engineer that likes living, fuck you very much John Mayer.

  5. Pro Libertate,

    I hope you realize you just generalized an entire profession.

  6. Hmmm…I managed to go “nope not me” to almost everything in both lists.

    Breaking it down:
    Liberal List
    1. No
    2. No
    3. No
    4. Yes,Yes,No
    5. Yes
    6. No

    Conservative List
    1. Sorta
    2. Yes,Yes,No
    3. No
    4. No
    5. No
    6. Yes
    7. No

  7. Hogan,

    Miss Cleo.

    Miss Cleo,

    Hogan

  8. I’m going to make a generalization: people who feel they can boil down personality traits in a hugely diverse group of people are really, really fucking stupid.

    How is psychology better than astrology, Tarot-cards, and spoon-bending? Discuss.

    I has a veneer of respectability! Easy question. Besides, ProL, there is no spoon.

    WHOA

  9. Dormouse,

    The article in question generalized judges, social workers and professors.

  10. Anyone seen any Myers-Briggs polling data?

  11. LIT – I stand corrected.

    from Wikipedia, Miss Cleo “was reported to have made $13.5 million from her psychic services.”

  12. I’m not sure how a “fear of death” is uniquely conservative. Pretty much everyone I know is somewhat of death. I think that’s sort of coded into the DNA.

  13. “Or do some psychologists have a certain unacknowledged preference for simplicity and clarity when it comes to politics?”

    I’m gonna go with this.

  14. So are you an empathetic and creative Obama voter or a fearful and simplicity-craving McCain supporter? Or do some psychologists have a certain unacknowledged preference for simplicity and clarity when it comes to politics?

    To call one list a pathologizing of the group it describes is nothing but a value judgment. I see positives and negatives in both lists.

  15. economist,

    That was my thought on the fear of death. I only said “no” because of the “enhanced security” part. The people without fear of death are few and far between. And mostly nuts.

  16. so Dr. Mayer took the stereotypes that Red State/Blue State feel about the other and “scientifically” proved them?

    Nice work if you can get it. Watch as I “prove” that prettier people are dumb and nerds wear glasses.

  17. Dormouse,

    Why yes, yes I did. I generalized the generalizers.

  18. Anyone seen any Myers-Briggs polling data?

    Didn’t we already determine that libertarians skew INTP/INTJ {two of the lowest represented combinations}?

  19. You know what you never see on these threads? Criticism of the researchers’ methodology.

    Is it within the realm of possibility that the liberal and conservative groups actually did exhibit the traits listed to significantly different degrees? Is it within the realm of possibility that research psychologists might actually be able to design tests that measure how strongly different personality traits and preferences are exhibited in individuals?

    Nah. That can’t be it. It’s gotta be some sort of scam.

  20. You see, I told you that those Bushbot fundamentalists can’t tolerate ambiguity and complexity!

  21. Okay, joe, here’s my criticism of their methodology: They’re psychologists. 95% of all psychology, apart from commonsense stuff, is bullshit.

  22. joe,

    To answer your questions, yes, it is impossible and unreasonable. Unless we got psychohistory when I wasn’t looking.

  23. Obviously this isn’t like a new theory of his – it’s the same conservative profile from the Authoritarian Personality, which I believe is over fifty years old at this point. It’s just annoyingly obvious that some things (fear of death, deference to authority, need for clarity) are fundamental to human nature: some people channel those drives into the Political Agenda of Tribe A and some translate them into the Political Agenda of Tribe B.

  24. TEAM RED TEAM BLUE GO TEAM GO

  25. Yay! Someone got their biases confirmed!

  26. Nice work if you can get it. Watch as I “prove” that prettier people are dumb and nerds wear glasses.

    Our Tao is a good-looking, smart guy who, iirc, wears glasses.

    So there you go TAO. You’re your own confounding variable.

  27. last time a pathology of conservatism post was put up (the study about how conservatives react to scary stimuli and liberals don’t), there was quite a bit of immediate criticism of its methodology.

  28. The ScienceDaily article is, how do you say, complete and utter bullshit. The editor should be taken out back and whipped for this nonsense.

  29. Who says liberals don’t have deference to authority? Joe’s never thought of straying from the commands of the voices which tell him to jizz partisan idiocy all over these threads.

  30. From the dim recesses of my brain, I remember another study that showed:

    If an individual believe that he/she has little control over his/her chance of success in life, then he/she will skew liberal/democrat.

    If an individual believe that he/she has substantial control over his/her chance of success in life, then he/she will skew conservative/republican.

    Consistent with some of the elements of the study described above.

  31. the article doesn’t even describe what, if anything, was done to develop these specifications. a questionnaire or something?

  32. To call one list a pathologizing of the group it describes is nothing but a value judgment. I see positives and negatives in both lists.

    Neu it sounds like you’re one of those complexity and ambiguity-tolerating liberals. As a needy and fearful conservative, I trust the government implicitly to keep people like you from changing the status quo, especially as it applies to my Chevy Tahoe.

  33. Like I said, most psychology is bullshit. Remember, this is the same profession that at the beginning of the last century was saying how if you had problems in adulthood it was ’cause you were molested or you saw your parents having sex, or something.

  34. I have, of course, grossly simplified Freudian theory, but it’s still bs.

  35. kinnath,

    So liberalism is fatalism in a political context? I would think that believing the poor are fated to be poor is fairly illiberal, and makes efforts to help them idiocy.

  36. joe,

    Hard to criticize the methodology when all that’s expressed in the article is an appeal to authority. So mocking the conclusions works pretty well, too.

    I also think it’s funny that judges are supposedly liberal. Given that I live in Texas, that assertion is patently ludicrous.

  37. SugarFree – I think the idea is that the battle is not to the strong or the race to the swift but time and chance overtake them all… one man’s success is luck and one man’s failure is misfortune, so a solid insurance program should make sure everyone comes out mostly ok.

  38. So liberalism is fatalism in a political context? I would think that believing the poor are fated to be poor is fairly illiberal, and makes efforts to help them idiocy.

    No, the liberal mindset tends to think that the power of the state is necessary to ensure the well-being of individuals, because individuals have little hope of being successful on their own.

  39. Hogan,

    Without disagreeing with your assertion, I would say that seeing life as a zero sum game is a form of fatalism.

  40. kinnath,

    Why do liberals think so little of their fellow human beings?

  41. kinnath,

    Why do liberals think so little of their fellow human beings?

    You will have to ask joe; I’m not a liberal.

  42. SugarFree – you’re right. I dunno how they work that out. Can’t defend the inconsistencies of an ideology I don’t share.

  43. Liberals Tolerate complexity and ambiguity and therefore they are able to solve a myriad of problems using the method “government should just do x”, the highest form of complexity.

  44. T,

    Hard to criticize the methodology when all that’s expressed in the article is an appeal to authority.

    Wouldn’t the rational, evidence-based response be “there isn’t enough information to draw a conclusion” rather than “this must be bullshit because it” a) involves psychologists or b) doesn’t square with what I want to think?

  45. Oh, don’t worry about it, Just in a mean mood. If we had two-day voting, I’d be off today like I am tomorrow.

  46. The terminology is certainly skewed in a pro-liberal way. I love the way conservatives “tolerate social inequity” rather than “value personal responsibility”, for example.

    The fact that the US government is left off the liberal list of endorsements is either an indictment of the way the study was conducted or a pretty shocking exposure of the stupidity of the “liberals” interviewed.

  47. Clearly, the key to getting more conservative voters in the future is to encourage more people to be afraid of death. For my part, I’ll start driving more recklessly to endanger pedestrians.

  48. marc,

    To riff on your comment:

    “More government” is the Occam’s Razor of modern liberalism.

  49. Hogan,

    I don’t know what methodology this particular guy used, but a well-known questionnaire for Right Wing Authoritarianism is included by Professor Altmeyer (an authority on this subject) in his book (Chapter 1, starting on page 10).

  50. “Bullshit” doesn’t necessarily mean that none of the results can be true – it just means that we don’t buy the scientific certainty or premises of the study.

    For example, seperating people into two distinct groups based on more than one trait? Honestly? The more traits he outlines, the more specific his claims, the more likely they are to be bullshit on the whole

  51. The fact that the US government is left off the liberal list of endorsements is either an indictment of the way the study was conducted or a pretty shocking exposure of the stupidity of the “liberals” interviewed.

    Conservatives don’t endorse the federal government?

    Funny, I hadn’t noticed that over the past few years.

  52. Reinmoose,

    The fact that the US government is left off the liberal list of endorsements is either an indictment of the way the study was conducted or a pretty shocking exposure of the stupidity of the “liberals” interviewed.

    This assumes that the traits aren’t correlated to a meaningful extent, but are spread randomly or close to it.

  53. I have performed an extensive study over many years, and have found conclusively that partisans are douchebags. My evidence is irrefutable.

  54. you didn’t quote me

  55. “The terminology is certainly skewed in a pro-liberal way.”

    This was my first impression. But I indulged anyway…
    I never considered myself liberal (arguably except for my music preference- Yes, I like John Mayer, the musician) but as defined by Mayer, the psychologist, I’d rather see myself as a creative, fun-lovin’ hippie than a crotchety old fart.
    Ahem, thanks for the insight.

  56. Wouldn’t the rational, evidence-based response be “there isn’t enough information to draw a conclusion” rather than “this must be bullshit because it” a) involves psychologists or b) doesn’t square with what I want to think?

    Well, I’d agree with you on choice b, but many of us would be inclined to argue that choice a is an evidence-based response.

    However, the conclusions fly in the face of observed reality. If, as they say, liberals exhibit creativity in problem solving, why do engineers trend conservative politically? And why is the liberal solution to a social problem always some government action? Not very creative thinking.

  57. rana,
    Did you get my E-mail?

  58. I actually don’t think the study was too misleadingly worded. I just think it’s bullshit because 1.I don’t trust most psychology 2. They were obviously reaching for their explanation for why conservatives tend to be more security-oriented.

  59. “social inequities”

    Bah!

    Social equity is a method of rights and status allocation according to my preferred prejudices, as opposed to the prejudices of those with whom I disagree.

  60. “Tolerance” of ambiguity? IMHO, a truly self actualized individual does not cherish, embrace or otherwise like tolerance for ambiguity-at least not as a desirable end, in and of itself. Ever notice that the folks who propagate such garbage are not ambiguous when it comes to (1) whether the state should exist; (2) whether the state should impose an income tax; (3) whether the state should impose a progressive income tax; (4) whether the state should confiscate and redistribute the property of individuals; (5) whether the state should be involved in education; (6) whether one should go to jail for questioning the holocaust industry and countless other examples?

  61. I would buy the study more if it said “we would predict that people with these characteristics vote for the ‘liberal’ and that people with these characteristics vote for the ‘conservative,'” but that’s not what’s being said.
    Also, i would then respond with “duh”

  62. See, I was right about psychologists.

  63. There are basically three categories of people:

    1. Those who think that everything or nearly everything is black and white.

    2. Those who think that everything or nearly everything is ambiguous.

    3. Those who realize that the first two groups of people are a few fries short of a happy meal.

  64. J sub D,
    An email? no. I got a link you posted for me on another thread last week. Is it the same?

  65. Tom Cruise,
    No I don’t think people’s psychological problems are caused by the souls of aliens trapped in their bodies because of the machinations of the evil Lord Xenu who recently broke out of Galactic Prison and escaped on a DC-8.

  66. More claptrap to make leftists seem morally superior to those evil conservatives.

    Funny how history shows that leftist leaders have still never created that utopia that they insist will come if we just would let them take total control of everything.

    In fact, most of the biggest ‘purges’ of population seem to occur under leftist regimes leaving a system of have and have nots just like capatilism.

    But at least our betters are calling the shots huh?

  67. Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

  68. I see that the commie practice of declaring non-commies crazy didn’t end with the collapse of the soviet union.

    Fuck John Mayer, and the pseudoscientific hobby-horse he rode in on.

    -jcr

  69. Nor do I think that children have marloks in their bodies that implode when adults molest them and make the adults immortal, so sayeth the ruler of Be’thos.

  70. See, I was right about psychologists.

    Well, technically, that would be L. Ron being right about psychologists. Tom didn’t come up with the psychologist hate on his own.

    And if L. Ron is right about anything, then Xenu help us.

  71. Jcr,
    Are you really sure you want to fuck a hobby horse? Or John Mayer, for that matter?

  72. I, of course, know the scientologists have it all wrong. Lord Xenu wasn’t the aggressor in the pan-Galactic war that resulted in the trapping of thetans. Earth is actually a prison planet for the thetans of galactic terrorists who bombed the orthogon.

  73. Also the prison ships looked more like Boeing 747s than DC-8s.

  74. Is it within the realm of possibility that the liberal and conservative groups actually did exhibit the traits listed to significantly different degrees?

    Sure, it’s possible. It’s not as likely as a pinko academic psychologist living on the government teat at a state university projecting his personal prejudices on the people he was interviewing, though.

    -jcr

  75. The Scientology lawyers want to have a chat with you, economist.

  76. And I am actually the heir of Xenu. My real name is Xenu XXV of the Galactic Confederation.

  77. Are you really sure you want to fuck a hobby horse?

    You misunderstand me. I’m very much in favor of the social division of labor, so I would prefer to delegate that task to a specialist.

    -jcr

  78. Xenu XXV shall crush them for their impugning of his ancestor’s honor!

  79. JCR 11:21,
    I see. You would consider that a valid role of the Congress, then?

  80. Also the prison ships looked more like Boeing 747s than DC-8s.

    Dude, they’re going to come down on you like a ton of bricks for heresy.

    -jcr

  81. kinnath,

    Didn’t we already determine that libertarians skew INTP/INTJ {two of the lowest represented combinations}?

    Yes, or at least that h&r commenters skew strongly that way. That was the thread in which I declared INTJs first against the wall after the revolution. I havent pulled back from that position. 🙂

  82. You would consider that a valid role of the Congress, then?

    Not in their official capacity. It’s not one of the powers delegated to them in the constitution. Of course, what they do in their own time is their own business.

    -jcr

  83. JCR,
    Fine, they can sue me all they want! You here me scientologists, sue me! I’m not afraid of you, you douchebags! That includes you, Tom Cruise!

  84. Didn’t we already determine that libertarians skew INTP/INTJ {two of the lowest represented combinations}?

    I’m really hoping Hit & Run participants are not a representative sample.

  85. Yes, or at least that h&r commenters skew strongly that way. That was the thread in which I declared INTJs first against the wall after the revolution. I havent pulled back from that position. 🙂

    And we haven’t forgotten that you are an enemy of the Republic.

  86. That was the thread in which I declared INTJs first against the wall after the revolution. I havent pulled back from that position. 🙂

    Does that mean INTPs will be second? I figure I get a head start that way…

  87. Of course the liberal would be inclined to be favorable to the word ‘ambiguity’. It is multisyllabic, yet not difficult to pronounce with a rich contrast in varying sounds, pretentious without being overly filling. Mayer would have been as successful with the word ‘poinsettia’.

    *************************************
    Have a fear of death, reflecting an enhanced need for security.

    Question #37 Do you want to die.

    [Liberal gazes poignantly at the many scars that mar his wrist]

    Answer Yes

    [Conservatice winces at stupid question]

    Answer No

    There you go, Conservatives fear death.

  88. When Xenu XXV takes over, the scientologists will be the first against the wall.

  89. Robespierre had a good run for an INTJ.

  90. I know I fear death. I’ve never tried, even once, to commit suicide.

  91. INTP as well

  92. Robespierre had a good run for an INTJ.

    I think this validates my position. They are handy to have around for the revolution, but we need to get rid of them immediately afterward.

  93. Rana,
    No it isn’t. Maybe I’m just screwed up here. Maybe it got flagged as spam. Please E-mail me at cvddgcg@yahoo.com.

    Thanks.

  94. The fact that the US government is left off the liberal list of endorsements is either an indictment of the way the study was conducted or a pretty shocking exposure of the stupidity of the “liberals” interviewed.

    Conservatives don’t endorse the federal government?

    Again with the intentionally obtuseness, joe.

    I never said that conservatives didn’t endorse the government, joe. I just pointed out that the liberal agenda depends very largely on government implementation, so for liberals to also not endorse the federal government is either disingenous or stupid.

  95. The ENFP libertarians will use our magnificent charisma and lead your bookish INTJ asses right off a cliff and be done with it. Or we’ll become libertarian cruise ship directors.

  96. As everyone has noted, these studies are always pure bullshit.

    I always laugh at the way they phrase their conclusions – “conservatives” love “authority” but liberals don’t? Then why do liberals keep running for office? When liberals stop running for office I’ll believe they don’t like using authority.

    Or “creativity”. What they really mean is dribbling paint to make abstract art. What they completely exclude is the creativity of running a business, making new products, being self-sufficient and independent.

    A fear of death makes someone conservative? Why not phrase it the other way – being liberal makes you suicidal?

  97. T,

    If, as they say, liberals exhibit creativity in problem solving, why do engineers trend conservative politically? Because engineering is the only profession that involves creativity? Because engineering involves less creativity, and more application of hard-and-fast standards, than most other creative/ideas-based profession? Because you just made that up?

    why is the liberal solution to a social problem always some government action? It isn’t. In many cases, the liberal solution is for less government action. You just don’t notice that as much, because you agree with it.

  98. J sub D,

    No, you are not screwed up. I post with a fake email add (shock!)… you know, living in Vz makes me a little cautious.
    Hmmm, you aren’t goign to send me some virus, are you?
    Hey, is paranoia a liberal or conservative trait?

  99. I have a pronounced fear of death, which I like to exorcise by running people over with my SUV. I tend to spare folks with tatoos and those reading cahiers du cinema, unless I’m feeling totally shitty.

  100. that should be “paranoid”…

    (damn, English language eludes me sometimes)

  101. I never said that conservatives didn’t endorse the government, joe.

    OK. Then you might have just as well have asked why the federal government wasn’t listed as an institution that the conservatives endorse.

    The lists of differences isn’t comprehensive; it’s about areas where there are noticeable differences. If you’ll notice, neither list contains “motherhood,” either.

    On the “fear of death” thing – this isn’t about personality traits that are unique to each group, but which are expressed at different levels of intensity. Of course everyone has a level of fear of death. Of course everyone tolerates ambiguity to an extent.

    But the conserative wailing about how 9/11 footage wasn’t being shown enough, and about how liberals see everything in shades of grey and won’t stand up against evil, really happened, and it happened for a reason.

  102. rana, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

  103. Hmmm, you aren’t goign to send me some virus, are you?

    Moi? Of course not. I’m not digitally saavy or assholish enough to do the virus thingee.

    Hey, is paranoia a liberal or conservative trait?

    Libertarian I think. Tinfoil hats and all of that.

  104. Liberals: View social inequities and preferred groups as unjust and requiring (government) reform.

    But it’s the conservatives who have “a greater investment in authority?”

    Prefer atheists, tattoos, foreign films and poetry.

    Completely describes union members and orthodox/reformed Jews, to mention only two groups.

    Tolerate complexity and ambiguity.

    Unless you own a firearm, have a Confederate flag bumper sticker, etc. Note that “scab” and “oreo” are liberal four-letter words.

    I’m not sure how a “fear of death” is uniquely conservative.

    It’s code for “believes in an afterlife.”

    No, the liberal mindset tends to think that the power of the state is necessary to ensure the well-being of individuals, because individuals have little hope of being successful on their own.

    And, the conservative mindset tends to think that the power of the state is necessary to ensure the moral well-being of individuals, because individuals have little hope of being virtuous on their own.

    Potato, potahto.

    Once again, statists are divided into liberals and conservatives, excluding libertarians.

    Hey, is paranoia a liberal or conservative trait?

    Neither. When you’re out to get everyone else, you aren’t the one that should be paranoid.

  105. ENTP, but me I and E were really close. Just barely more E.

  106. Once again, statists are divided into liberals and conservatives, excluding libertarians.

    Uh-huh. Just ask us about gay marriage.

  107. BDB,

    I was ruled by the psychology overlords an ENTP, too.

  108. I imagine Mr. Mayer sent in his mail-in ballot many weeks ago, and that the ballot was heavily weighted to the Democrats.

    He paints Conservatives as a bunch of “clingers” that can’t bear to venture outside their compounds and Liberals as camp counselors sitting around the campfire with their multi-cultural friends smoking a joint, singing Kum-ba-ya…

    Oh crap. He nailed it.

  109. Well…!

    I think social inequities are necessary and inevitable, and I think preferred groups generally contribute more to economic growth, though I have few friends among the well heeled and generally find my n’er do well friends more interesting.

    I prefer atheists to religious people (including New Agers!), but I have mixed feelings about tattoos. I used to like foreign films, not sure now. I don’t especially care for poetry OR SUV’s….

    I play rock music, which may or may not mean I’m creative. I feel pretty dense compared to a lot of my more creative friends.

    I’m second born. My first born older brother is definitely following more in my father’s footsteps politically than I, though that means being more of a “good liberal”!

    I’d like to think that simplicity, clarity and conscientiousness do not have to be at odds with complexity (and flexibility!). Life is going to be ambiguous at times and I’d say there’s times and places to embrace it and others to avoid it.

    Neither fish nor foul, I guess….

  110. BDB,

    I was the same only squeaked across to the I side of the line. You ENTPs are good folk, unlike the Js.

  111. i would like to take both meyers and briggs and throw them out a window.

    i think that makes me a JERK.

    i can see why the phrasing of this particular project would set off some bells, but it’s also an incredibly wide generalization. hell, it says conservatives are conscientious; this can be read as “liberals are unconscientious fuckups” if you like.

    everyone’s happy! the other team is bad! our team is good! wooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  112. I wonder how much federal tax money was wasted on this guy to pass off his personal opinions as a “scientific” study.

  113. Actually, my younger sister is much more of a “good liberal” too!! So much for that theory….

  114. Worthless pop psychology.

  115. Next thing you know, they will tell us the Liberals prefer to vote Democratic, while Conservatives tend to vote Republican. Also that liberals are pro-choice while conserviatives are pro-life.

    But seriously, the list is a mixture of fairly obvious statements about what defines left and right, along with some highly questionable ones. “Tolerate ambiguity”? I know many so-called “liberals” who are highly intolerant and have little room for ambiguity in their worldviews.

    I actually suspect that the entire thing is an experiment in seeing if people are able to separate statements of fact from statements of opinion when they are grouped together in a single list. Psychologists play tricks like this frequently. They might be trying to analyze how people process information – in batches or individual units.

  116. Tolerate complexity and ambiguity.

    Considering that most of the people I know and hang around with are engineers, physicists, mathematicians, etc. And most of them would probably be called “conservative”, then I would have to disagree with this “liberal trait”.

    View social inequities and preferred groups as unjust and requiring reform.

    After arguing with Joe, the liberal’s liberal, about affirmative action and other forms of social engineering high on the Liberal priority list I have to disagree. Clearly it is Libs who demand “preferred groups”.

  117. robc,

    You just try to put us INTJS against the wall while you’re fighting off our robot servitors!

    P.S. INTJs are “Masterminds”, and therefore have robot servitors. We also know that “robot servitor” is a pleonasm, and relish the expression for that reason.

  118. perhaps someone has already mentioned this (I’m not going to read >100 comments to find out), but I notice reason recently republished on the website their psychoanalysis of Bill Clinton, so, tu quoque and all that

  119. After arguing with Joe, the liberal’s liberal, about affirmative action and other forms of social engineering high on the Liberal priority list I have to disagree. Clearly it is Libs who demand “preferred groups”.

    SOCIAL inequality, wayne. Liberals are opposed to SOCIAL inequality..

    The affirmative action example disproves your point – it is yet another example of liberals wanting to do something about social inequality. Whatever your personal opinions about AA’s methods, it is a policy that exists for the sole purpose to promoting social equality, and undoing social inequality.

  120. BTW, wayne, if you think I am a liberal’s liberal, you need to expand your reading list.

  121. I, Lord Xenu XXV, demand sacrifice. Bring me your most attractive virgins! Actually, bring me your most attractive females. They don’t necessarily have to be virgins.

  122. economist, LMAO.

  123. domoarrigato,
    I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know what LMAO stands for.

  124. Laughing my ass off

  125. Okay, cool.

  126. Obama personality traits:

    – Independent
    – Generous
    – Optimistic
    – Enthusiastic
    – Courageous

    McCain personality traits:

    – Moody
    – Short tempered
    – Self-involved
    – Impulsive
    – Impatient

    BTW, I simply replaced “Aries” with Obama and McCain. Sounds just about as accurate as the study, if not more so, assuming you have a Team Blue POV. I will admit, tho’ that I think it does nail McSane.

  127. joe isn’t a liberal’s liberal. He’s merely your average liberal.

  128. I would say that even the most liberal posters here couldn’t be described as “liberals’ liberals”, except maybe for James (socialist version) and CO, who are both completely and utterly insane.

  129. “The affirmative action example disproves your point – it is yet another example of liberals wanting to do something about social inequality. Whatever your personal opinions about AA’s methods, it is a policy that exists for the sole purpose to promoting social equality, and undoing social inequality.”

    Actually it exists for the sole purpose of furthering the overall liberal democrat stragety that has been in existence since the 1930’s:

    Promising targeted constituency groups some sort of handout forcibly extracted from others to buy their votes. And of course, to make those groups (and anyone else they can) as permanently dependent on government as they can to ensure their own continued political power.

    And that’s all there is to it.

  130. any surprise that if INTJ/P is the personality of libertarians that libertarianism is a (tiny) minority party? Not only are we under represented from a stistical POV, but we pathologically don’t understand the large part of irrational human behavior which politicians exploit in the will to power.

  131. “one man’s success is luck and one man’s failure is misfortune,”

    Usually if you like/approve of someone, and he’s successful, you say he worked really hard and was brilliant, creative, etc. If you disapprove of him, you say he was lucky.

    Same with another’s failure. If you like the person, she had some awful luck. If you don’t, then he’s a fuckup.

  132. Promising targeted constituency groups some sort of handout forcibly extracted from others to buy their votes. And of course, to make those groups (and anyone else they can) as permanently dependent on government as they can to ensure their own continued political power.

    Seeing how this is the standard boilerplate you use to describe any effort to promote social equality, Gil, I thank you for the assist.

  133. Wow, joe will start an argument about anything.

  134. Po-tay-toh po-tah-to
    to-may-toh to-mah-to
    Let’s call the whole thing off.

  135. “Seeing how this is the standard boilerplate you use to describe any effort to promote social equality, Gil, I thank you for the assist.”

    Stating the absolute truth is no assistance to you, joe.

    And absolute truth is exactly what that is.

  136. economist,

    Like I said, most psychology is bullshit. Remember, this is the same profession that at the beginning of the last century was saying how if you had problems in adulthood it was ’cause you were molested or you saw your parents having sex, or something.

    Given your chosen handle, which I assume reflects your profession, I this made me laugh out loud.

    As scientific endeavors, psychology and economics are blood-brothers. They use the same conceptual tools, face the same messy kinds of data, etc…

    Both are frequently attacked as pseudo-science for a reason. The question you should ask yourself is this…using an objective assessment, which field has made more progress in the last century?

    Does economics manage to make predictions that are better than common sense?
    Does economics provide insight that goes beyond folk-psychology?

    Economics is the softest of the soft sciences.
    Economists would be wise to maintain a bit of humility when discussing other social sciences.

  137. What a silly list on both sides. Few liberals fit the liberal list, but I don’t get why they felt the need to insult conservatives. Can’t we all just get along? I’m sure we can agree on a few things:

    Ayn Rand is the most overrated novelist ever.

    Discuss.

  138. I don’t like this John Mayer fellow.
    Jennifer love Hewitt
    Jessica Simpson
    Minka Kelly
    Jennifer Anniston
    He supposedly has a huge wang.
    And now he comes out with this bullshit?

  139. The study was probably looking for all the wrong answers.

    It’s as simple as the hypocrisy in the fact that conservatives view human nature as inherently evil and want to keep it the same, and liberals see human nature as inherently good and want to change it.

  140. Regarding “Pathologizing Conservatives”, it appears that Matt Welch missed the sarcastic tone in Ron Bailey’s 2004 article, and then proceeded to pathologize John McCain.

  141. Neu Mejican,
    Actually, I’m an engineer. I chose the handle “economist” because when I first started posting here there was some person who made a number of posts under the handle “engineer”, and I didn’t want to cause any confusion. Plus, it was my original major (and ended up being my minor) in college. After “engineer” stopped posting (I think 7 or 8 months ago) I kept the handle for consistency’s sake.

    That said, economics, while it may be a “soft” science, nonetheless has a firmer basis in reality than psychology.

  142. economist,

    That said, economics, while it may be a “soft” science, nonetheless has a firmer basis in reality than psychology.

    Do tell.
    I would love to see you try to spin a convincing case for that assertion.

  143. Economist,

    You would need to address these issues.

    Economics, it is often claimed lacks predictive quality (no precision and poor reliability) which is compounded by the fact that the growth of its predictive power over time is not of scientific in quality.

    Economics enerates true generic predictions, but that is not enough to call it science.

    To be scientific, economic theories need to anticipate the future with a degree of precision and consistency greater than that realized by common-sense utilized by an intelligent layman.

    Using these tests, I think psychology beats out economics by a smidge. Primary in that psychology is moving forward and doing a better job of both describing their content and making predictions that go beyond common sense.

  144. economist,

    As an engineer, you may want to explain to this guy how his designs are not based in reality.

    http://ebiquity.umbc.edu/event/html/id/132/Using-Cognitive-Psychology-to-Solve-Robotics-Problems-An-Introduction-to-Cognitive-Robotics

  145. And these guys are doomed to fail as they are basing their designs on fantasy-based theories.

    http://eecs.vanderbilt.edu/cis/CRL/index.shtml

  146. So, NM, if these robots kill us all off, that will prove psychology to be a valid science?

  147. cognitive psych is a different breed from what this mayerman is peddling – personality science. which is, in fact, bullshit.

  148. Psychology isn’t inherently BS. Skinner and his behaviorist allies, for instance, operated at a level of scientific rigor equalling that of any physicist.

    Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to get away with pseudoscience in psychology than in other fields, so there are a lot of hacks who can maintain a reputation by just making stuff up as they go along. Physics has a similar bunch in the string theorists and “new physics” people, but they’re a distinct minority. In a sense, the quality difference between the two sciences is that in psychology the lunatics are running the asylum, so to speak.

  149. Both psychology and economics work rather well when they involve number crunching.

    However, when it comes to psychology, that’s generaly neuroscience and other stuff that hardly anyone knows about. The kind of psychology that involves talk therapy is on the lowest rung of the ladder, sort of like business majors in economics.

    The kind of economists who do game theory and information networks and so forth have a much better scientific foundation than the psychology guys running idiotic studies like this one.

  150. Pro Lib,

    Not unless the psychologists predict it.

    cognitive psych is a different breed from what this mayerman is peddling – personality science. which is, in fact, bullshit.

    Not really true.
    This study may be bullshit, but that doesn’t damn the whole field.

    Physics has a similar bunch in the string theorists and “new physics” people, but they’re a distinct minority. In a sense, the quality difference between the two sciences is that in psychology the lunatics are running the asylum, so to speak.

    String theorists are a distinct minority?
    That is not the impression left by Lee Smolin in his writing on the subject.

    http://www.thetroublewithphysics.com/

    The kind of psychology that involves talk therapy is on the lowest rung of the ladder, sort of like business majors in economics.

    It is important to recognize the distinction between “therapy” and “science.”

    Medical science on, say, cancer, is certainly rigorous and successful science.

    However, that doesn’t mean that what your average doc is doing is science.

    The kind of economists who do game theory and information networks and so forth have a much better scientific foundation than the psychology guys running idiotic studies like this one.

    Game theory is as much psychology as it is economics.

    I would argue, in fact, that economics is largely a sub-discipline of psychology…but that is a whole ‘nuther argument.

  151. Okay, there’s a BIG difference between cognitive psychologists and the bs involved in most psychology. For one, most cognitive psychologists actually have a firm grounding in neuroscience.

  152. NM, most physicists deal with phenomena that don’t overlap with string theory at all, that is, investigating crystal structures and electromagnetic properties of materials, etc.

    Even among particle physicists there’s been a backlash against string theory during the past few years. It is the most visible sector of physics to the general public, I’ll grant, probably because contemporary ‘real’ physics research is incredibly boring to the uninitiated. Then again, I suppose that might be analogously true for psychology as well.

  153. This study may be bullshit, but that doesn’t damn the whole field.

    obviously. and yet i still feel that the field is damned. i can be persuaded otherwise if you can point me to some experimental research with testable, falsifiable claims in the study of personality. as opposed to the philosophizing of an adler, erikson, jung, etc… not saying that the information that comes out of this field isn’t interesting or potentially valid, but i think at best it’s scienceish.

  154. That depends on what you consider the study of personality. The behaviorist school of psychology did very rigorous experimental work on the origins of human and animal behavior, though the truly hardcore behaviorists would deny that there is such a thing as personality.

  155. The problem the behaviorists have is that their entire program is based on the assumption that free will does not exist, or at the very least is irrelevant; and human personality and animal behavior are more alike than they are different. Not nearly as easy a sell to the public as psychoanalysis or the modern psychobabble crowd.

    Also, they were limited in their ability to experiment on human (as opposed to animal) behavior due to ethics concerns, so they were never able to provide conclusive evidence of the above.

  156. The reason it’s easier to get away with bullshit like this in psychology is because it is damn hard to do good experiments.

    Ethical considerations alone nix a lot of the more interesting experiments. Take violence for instance, it would be unethical (in most cases) to expose someone to a stimulus that you expect will make them violent. Therefore you have to deal with a similar concept (like aggression) that isn’t really the same. In other cases the experiments needed to properly test concepts in a definitive way would be impractical or impossible to perform.

    Dealing with people is a whole other ordeal. People lie, both consciously and unconsciously, and different people lie in different situations and in different ways. Researchers will unintentionally and unfortunately sometimes intentionally influence the results.

    Doing the research right and properly explaining the results doesn’t often result in cool stuff that gets on the news.

    The useful stuff in psychology is limited and a little boring. Part of the problem is probably that the majority of people who could really help advance the field don’t end up in psychology, probably not helped by it’s reputation as bullshit pseudo-science. Bullshitters get publicity driving away people who might be interested in and good at the real research away. Look into some of the research on eyewitness testimony for an example of good work.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.