This Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Phrase "Political Perspective"

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Here's NOT looking at you, kid.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are reporting the results of new study that show liberals and conservatives respond very differently to visual cues. As ScienceDaily reports:

In a new study, UNL researchers measured both liberals' and conservatives' reaction to "gaze cues"—a person's tendency to shift attention in a direction consistent with another person's eye movements, even if it's irrelevant to their current task—and found big differences between the two groups.

Liberals responded strongly to the prompts, consistently moving their attention in the direction suggested to them by a face on a computer screen. Conservatives, on the other hand, did not.

Why? Researchers suggested that conservatives' value on personal autonomy might make them less likely to be influenced by others, and therefore less responsive to the visual prompts.

"We thought that political temperament may moderate the magnitude of gaze-cuing effects, but we did not expect conservatives to be completely immune to these cues," said Michael Dodd, a UNL assistant professor of psychology and the lead author of the study….

The study involved 72 people who sat in front of a white computer screen and were told to fixate on a small black cross in its center. The cross then disappeared and was replaced by a drawing of a face, but with eyes missing their pupils. Then, pupils appeared in the eyes, looking either left or right. Finally, a small, round target would appear either on the left or right side of the face drawing.

Dodd said the participants were told that the gaze cues in the study did not predict where the target would appear, so there was no reason for participants to attend to them. "But the nature of social interaction tends to make it very difficult to ignore the cues, even when they're meaningless," he said.

As soon as they saw the target, participants would tap the space bar on their keyboard, giving researchers information on their susceptibility to the "gaze cues."

Surely it would be an over-interpretation of the results to conclude that liberals are easily led. Go here for more information on the study.

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  1. A more likely interpretation is that both liberals and conservatives are easily duped into being subjects of silly experiments.

    1. Yessssss.

  2. “Conservatives anti-social, don’t respond to visual cues.”

  3. DAR: Might the silliness depend to some extent on how much participants are paid?

    1. If so, it means liberals and conservatives can be bought for the same price, which come to think of it might lead to even more interesting experiments.

      1. We hold those experiments every four years or so. They aren’t that interesting.

  4. Why? Researchers suggested that conservatives’ value on personal autonomy might make them less likely to be influenced by others, and therefore less responsive to the visual prompts.

    Or, says liberal pundit, conservatives are incapable of paying attention!

    1. To which the conservative replies, liberals are easily distracted.

    2. You beat me to this joke; I was going to post as RESEARCHER AT UC BERKLEY, and offer, “Clearly the research suggests conservatives are unempathetic, unresponsive, inhumane racists”

    3. Or, conservatives are better at comprehending directions.

    1. Yes, was the computer face male, and if so, were conservatives or liberals more likely to feel raped by its gaze?

  5. I guess I have a liberal dog and a conservative dog. The liberal one, I can get her to run up the stairs just by looking up there. The conservative one doesn’t give me the time of day unless I have a treat or a minute to scratch his neck.

    1. Re: BoschoH,

      The conservative one doesn’t give me the time of day unless I have a treat or a minute to scratch his neck.

      That’s because he’s not a dog – he’s a cat, in drag.

    2. My cat’s an objectivist.

      1. All cats are.

        1. I now like cats.

      2. Meow Meow Meow Roar!

        [Translate: democratic nations has the moral imperative to bomb the shit out of the civilians of less democratic nations.]

        Meow Meow Meow

        [translation: people are puerile, therefore democracy by its nature is dysfunctional.]

        Meow Meow Meow

        [Everybody else but us are collectivist.]

        Meow Meow Meow

        [If you act on your own individual initiative against the state, you are an anarchist, nihilist, and a collectivist]

        Meow Meow Meow

        [We really hate Episiarch, and come to H’n’R every evening to ostracize him. If we can remove him, we’ll take over the community!]

        1. Garfield is not an Objectivist but rather Leonard Peikoff-who is also NOT an Objectivist.

  6. In a new study, UNL researchers measured both liberals’ and conservatives’ reaction to “gaze cues” — a person’s tendency to shift attention in a direction consistent with another person’s eye movements, even if it’s irrelevant to their current task — and found big differences between the two groups.

    You know, I wonder how the University came up with the group of liberals and conservatives… Through what criteria was this determined? Because I have read what so-called “conservatives” write every day in many blogs and internet rags and they sound pretty socialist to me…

    1. “You know, I wonder how the University came up with the group of liberals and conservatives…”

      Why did you accent the “wonder” in that sentence? It sounds weird. Emphasizing the “how” would make a bit more sense, so I’m just curious what effect you were intending.

    2. The study is here (never trust MSM reports):

      http://psych.unl.edu/mdodd/VAM…..nalAPP.pdf

      Following the target detection task, participants were asked to complete two batteries of survey items: a modification of the well-known Wilson Patterson Inventory (Wilson & Patterson, 1968) and a newer “Society Works Best” collection of items. The Wilson Patterson Inventory asks respondents to indicate whether they agree or disagree with a number of “hot-button” topics (e.g., abortion, gay marriage). Based on responses to the 24 items, participants received a score indicating the extent to which they hold liberal or conservative positions. Similarly, the “Society Works Best” contains 15 items which ask participants to choose which of two paired scenarios would make society best (e.g., “it is better to follow authority or it is better to question authority”).

      The students they labeled as “conservative” had faster reaction times than the liberals, which means that they had higher IQs.

      1. Or conservatives don’t bother to think before acting. They already know the answer.

  7. Bernie Sanders live on C-Span right now.

    http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN2.aspx

    Go there. Learn something.

    In 2007 top 400 families paid an effective tax rate of 16.5%. What was your effective tax rate?

    1. Less than zero. The government paid us!

    2. Diggin’ a hole and filling it in!
      Diggin’ a hole and filling it in!
      Diggin’ a hole and filling it in!
      Diggin’ a hole and filling it in!
      I’m SAVING the economy!

      That didn’t work?

      Class Warfare!
      Class Warfare!
      Class Warfare!
      Class Warfare!

      Look at me! I’m SAVING the economy!

      1. BTW, the first half of that shtick was from February ’08, and the original author was Warty. Given the hypercombustabliy of leftist lately on class warfare, it was time to update it.

    3. Rich folk can hire top shelf Tax Attorneys.

      News at 11.

    4. Just another sign of corrupt government, Charlie Rangel specifically. Sounds like you want to simplify the tax code! We could do everyone pays the same rate or flat fee, what do you think?

  8. The rest of the picture that my mind creates around that picture is a hot chick. Change that, and I might give a crap about which direction she is looking.

  9. Their handwaving is meant to distract us!

    I wonder if this might partially explain why liberals find faux pas by people like O’Donnell and Palin so mesmerizing?

    …and why conservatives tend not to care so much.

    P.S. She shot a caribou!

    1. I love it that she blasted a caribou. Although I saw the clip of it, and she doesn’t hold her rifle correctly and can’t shoot for shit. Her defenders say it was because her scope was off which is possible. But I can’t believe her father never taught her better form for aiming a rifle if she in fact does hunt often.

      1. Re: John,

        But I can’t believe her father never taught her better form for aiming a rifle if she in fact does hunt often.

        To be fair, her father did try out the rifle afterwards and was not able to shoot a plate at 100 yards with it, so it was really not Sarah’s fault that she was not able to shoot down the caribou.

        [Ok, now it is in the open – yes, I did see that show on TLC.]

        1. I have had that happen to me. So, I can’t throw any stones. How is the show? I have never watched it.

          I just love how subversive it is for a political figure to be out blasting Rudolph on national TV.

          1. Okay, so, basically you’re saying my theory about conservatives not being so easily distracted by the personal foibles of Palin & Co. is utter rubbish–got it.

          2. Re: John,

            How is the show? I have never watched it.

            It’s so-so. The best episode is precisely the one where she goes hunting with her dad, and maybe the very first one where Willow is in short shorts…

            1. She shoots Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer + Willow’s in Short-Shorts = Best Episode Ever?

              *knee slap*

              That’s the funniest comment I’ve read in months!

  10. Researchers suggested that conservatives’ value on personal autonomy might make them less likely to be influenced by others, and therefore less responsive to the visual prompts.

    Or conservatives are more interested in the person rather then what that person is looking at.

    Or conservatives can tell the difference between a cartoon and a real person.

    anyway i really hate these studies as they often do not give their definition of who is a liberal and who is a conservative.

    1. On a side note i would totally do that cartoon lady.

  11. Bernie Sanders live on C-Span right now.

    http://www.c-span.org/Watch/C-SPAN2.aspx

    Go there. Learn something.

    In 2007 top 400 families paid an effective tax rate of 16.5%. What was your effective tax rate?

    A little higher than that. But I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know, namely, that there is no tax that the very wealthiest can’t avoid.

    I’m betting that you could raise the top rate to 90%, and within a few years the top 400 families would be back to paying an effective tax rate of 16.5%.

    1. Tax laws are written by laywers to be read by lawyers.

      Rich people have enough money to hire lawyers.

      Outcome — Rich people pay a lower effective tax rate than non-rich people.

      Duh

      1. Not to forget that rich people have enough money to influence the lawyers that write the tax laws to start with.

  12. Hell, the results of the study are themselves a rorschach test.

  13. Surely it would be an over-interpretation of the results to conclude that liberals are easily led.

    Possibly. And don’t call me Shirley.

  14. This is science the way playboy is sex.

  15. In a new study, UNL researchers measured both liberals’ and conservatives’ reaction to “gaze cues”

    I thought it was well established that conservatives were against the gaze?

  16. I’d like to propose the following experiment.

    Change all the propaganda on the MSM from Liberalism to something else, say, Neoconservatism, or just dial back to the 1950’s, then wait a month and poll. Repeat your polls once a month for 12 to 18 months, then poll again on the same schedule.

    What would the likely outcome of such an experiment be?

    1. I forgot to say revert to Liberalism on the MSM, then poll again on the same schedule.

  17. The researchers told the subjects to look at the black cross on the screen. The conservatives were still looking at the space the cross occupied when the eyes appeared. They were still hoping the black cross would re-appear as the eyes started moving around. The researchers never said anything about eyes.

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