July 28, 2014

The liberal mind and stereotyping — aversion or inability? The case of gaydar

While browsing through the NY Post today, my eye was caught by a pic-and-blurb about reality star / model Kendall Jenner "being caught" getting flirty with NBA player Chandler Parsons.

I immediately detected gay face — over-smiling mouth and dead eyes — and concluded that she was serving as his beard. Not unlike the failed case of Taylor Swift and NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers. A quick check on Google Images confirmed that Parsons shows gay face in all his pictures, and sports one form or another of the whooshy, hi-top fade / faux hawk hairdo that is found only among homosexuals in 2014.


Does it make any sense to say that Parsons is "in the closet"? If we mean that he is trying his best to keep all those gay-betraying signals from getting out, then no: from his facial expressions and hairdo, he's pretty openly gay. A closeted homo would be working with a trainer to control his mannerisms and hide his give-aways. However, if we mean that he has affirmed the proposition that he would prefer to catch AIDS from a dude rather than a chick, then yes, he is still in the closet.

This distinction between corporeal signals and logical propositions highlights one of the fundamental splits in human psychology — between the senses and reason. Sensory experience supplies enough "data points" for the intuitive lobe of the brain to detect patterns or stereotypes. No experience, no intuition. Abstract propositions and rules of inference and deduction allow the reasoning lobe to construct and analyze complex arguments — which may or may not have anything to do with reality.

A good thinker has both a wealth of experience to draw on for pattern detection, as well as a dexterous way with reasoning to articulate what he believes to have discovered, and to analyze what others believe to have discovered. More often than not, though, it seems like people are better suited to one or the other. Some have good intuition but cannot articulate it for others, or criticize the claims that others have arrived at. And some have good reasoning skills but too few data points stored in memory to draw a worthy pattern out from.

Intuitive folks are more like animals, who cannot reason very well but who can sniff out a rat, while rational folks are more like electronic calculators, which do not have rich senses of their own through which to collect experience, but are superb at building up and evaluating abstract propositions.

Unfortunately for cerebral human beings, though, they don't come pre-packaged with a basic set of truths from which further complex nestings of truths may be deduced. Universal and timeless truths may become innate through natural selection — such as "two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time" — but anything more interesting than that must be learned through the senses.

How does this psychological split relate to political differences? Recall this earlier post that reviewed some literature and presented more discussion on the finding that liberal brains are more emotionally blunted, while conservative brains are less powerful at reasoning.

They don't directly test the idea of liberals being less in-touch-with the world of the senses around them, but that's not a giant inferential leap to make. Emotions give our experiences an intensity that ensures they get stored in memory, and they color-code our experiences so that there's a rich variation to draw patterns out of. Without variation, there are no correlations. Yet without the high-octane proposition-nesting algorithms that formulate our thoughts and analyze the thoughts of others, much of this intuition remains tacit. (Thought not necessarily private — people may share intuitions if they've had similar experiences and have similar pattern-detection skills.)

The upshot: liberals are clueless, conservatives inarticulate.*

This leads us to ask whether liberals, who fall into an apoplectic fit when someone points out a stereotype that they don't like, are bristling at the stereotype whose kernel of truth they recognize but do not want to accept, or are instead perplexed at what esoteric chain of reasoning led to such a conclusion?

The former view rests on ideas about cognitive dissonance (alleviating or preventing it), and selective attention — don't notice data which would cohere into a pattern that would threaten your ideology. The latter view rests on the broader pattern of liberals being blind to the real-life, grassroots, face-to-face facts of the world around them — regardless of whether they would serve for or against their ideology.

Liberals want a quick argument for which they can form a quick evaluation. "Quick" may mean several days or a week to digest a book and put down their thoughts. But that's far less time and effort required than having to take in hundreds or thousands of data-points across all our years of experience.

Thus, how does the liberal mind react when presented with the claim that so-and-so is clearly gay — just look at his face and mannerisms, listen to his voice, and get a load of that hairdo. Utter astonishment. That is pure pattern-recognition, with no reasoning whatsoever. And knowledge of what gay-face looks like, what gay-voice sounds like, and how gay-hands flit about, is not included in that tiny set of innate ideas that would obviate the need for real-world experience.

The conservative could homoerotically claim that so-and-so "pinged my gaydar," whereas the liberal has a weak or non-existent gaydar to begin with. Hence, they are not arguing over whose gaydar is giving the more accurate reading. They begin at an impasse over the very style in which a debate, however brief, is going to proceed.

I wonder if the corporeal vs. cerebral difference is a better explanation for Jonathan Haidt's finding that conservatives understand liberal morality better than liberals understand conservative morality (and are unaware that they're clueless). His work shows that conservatives draw on five distinct moral frameworks, while liberals draw mostly on two of them. Conservative morality is a superset of liberal morality, and it is easier to dial down some switches that are already well built, than it is to build good switches when they have been absent for your entire life.

That works, but it still seems like the difference could just be another example of conservatives being more in tune with the world of the senses, and therefore having better pattern recognition. They not only have a better intuition about what "the typical liberal" is like, but what the typical anything is like. And liberals are not only clueless about what "the typical conservative" is like, but what the typical anything is like.

Cases like gaydar are the crucial pieces here. We could appeal to cognitive dissonance, etc., for why liberals would not want to notice how typical Mexicans behave, or how typical liberals think. But what about where it would score points for their own team? That is ideological ammunition left behind in the arsenal during a time of intense warfare — hence unseen.

Nothing hurts more, or is more damning, than the truth. So why do liberals make up "the typical conservative" out of whole cloth? Why not skewer them for what they are truly like? And why ignore the multitude of obvious homosexuals in contemporary popular culture, when these could be claimed to boost the coolness level of liberals? "See, even a star NFL quarterback is gay! See, even our era's Cary Grant — George Clooney — is gay!"

They certainly show a desire to claim all sorts of other historical stars as queer, though usually on wrongheaded and tone-deaf grounds. Their detection skills are so weak that they must rely primarily on evidence relating to the figure's sexual behavior, when so-and-so (say, Michelangelo) could just have easily been asocial, asexual, autistic / spergy, chaste, celibate, and so on. Not being a poon hound is a poor distinction between faggots and normal men. They never bother looking into accounts of Michelangelo's mannerisms, voice, facial expressions, etc., to see if he fit the profile of the typical queer. ("Profiling — does not compute.")

These separate lines of evidence point to the liberal mind — whether it votes Democrat or Republican — being unable rather than averse to forming stereotypes.

More importantly, it underscores the difficulty of debate and consensus between liberals and conservatives, as they have such trouble playing in the same ball park by the same set of rules. Conservatives favor pattern recognition, tacit values, and implicit understandings about what should be done. Liberals favor abstract reasoning, articulated values, and explicit conclusions about what should be done.

If we are to keep our country from blowing itself up — or at least, if we are to heal the wound once it is inevitably cut open — then we need to send representatives from each side who are the closest to speaking a common language and set of assumptions. That means conservatives (not Republican voters) who can score well on a test of verbal reasoning and reading comprehension, and liberals who can muster their sense of disgust while realtalking about the world around them.

That's what worked the last time there was a long period of status-striving and inequality that nearly blew up society, around the turn of the 20th century. It was the combined forces of the Progressive movement and the Temperance movement that finally leveled Gilded Age inequality and exploitation, and drained the swamp of fin-de-siecle decadence.

* When conservatives do deliver a memorable speech, it's more in the form of pointing out patterns in the physical world, and leaving the values and conclusions implicit. Note how free of abstractions or statements of values the following description is, even when they would fit in (like "welfare queen" instead of "20-year-old mom with four kids"). Here's pro baseball player John Rocker on what's wrong with New York City:

It's the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you're riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It's depressing... The biggest thing I don't like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?

36 comments:

  1. Curtis12:39 PM

    interesting. I guess that, on the Big Five, conservatives would score high on neuroticism and liberals lower. "neurotic" is an unfortunate term, because what it really means is emotionally reactive - in other words, making decisions based on emotions and gut instinct rather than logic, as you say. I suspect that being emotionally reactive is also related to having a higher disgust reflex.

    the big five was probably developed by a liberal, which is why the test classifies a high disgust reflex with having an unstable personality.

    I'm not sure, but I think being "neurotic", and instinctive, probably has something to do with having a high level of crystallized intelligence. those with crystallized intelligence can retain past experiences and information, which makes them more intuitive - they just have a "feeling" like something will turn out bad, because their crystallized intelligence is recalling a past experience when they were in a similar situation. High crystallized intelligence creates a disgust reflex, because it allows the person to better recall past negative experiences, or something.

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  2. Curtis12:44 PM

    this also ties in with a culture of honor vs. a culture of law. a culture of honor requires that the person instinctively understand when he's being victimized, and figure out a way to avenge himself. in a culture of law, what is and isn't permissible is spelled out for everybody, and you to an official if someone breaks the rules.

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  3. Steve Johnson1:00 PM

    "Nothing hurts more, or is more damning, than the truth. So why do liberals make up "the typical conservative" out of whole cloth? Why not skewer them for what they are truly like? And why ignore the multitude of obvious homosexuals in contemporary popular culture, when these could be claimed to boost the coolness level of liberals? "See, even a star NFL quarterback is gay! See, even our era's Cary Grant — George Clooney — is gay!""

    Because the implicit progressive line is that you'll never be outed as long as you're progressive - and that you will and can be outed if you ever oppose progressives.

    Outing Clooney would hurt the progressive cause tremendously - he's openly progressive and they still out him?

    Outing Rodgers might still happen since he's not a vocal progressive. On the other hand, he's not a vocal anti-progressive either.

    Curtis12:39 PM

    "interesting. I guess that, on the Big Five, conservatives would score high on neuroticism and liberals lower."

    Disagree hugely on this one.

    First anecdotally - Jews are the most neurotic and most progressive group. Second analytically - huge amounts of effort in progressive thought are dedicated to avoiding anything that could cause hurt feelings. Conservative personalities are concerned about conduct and the functioning of society and the raising of healthy children. Progressives are concerned that no one ever feel bad about themselves for something they can't change (even if it is to their long term benefit).

    Which group sounds like negative feelings are scarier to it? Which group sounds more neurotic to you?

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  4. Curtis1:01 PM

    "The upshot: liberals are clueless, conservatives inarticulate."

    yeah, this is really frustrating, just having a feeling that something's not right, but not being able to articulate or make a reasoned argument.

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  5. Anonymous1:17 PM

    I have to commend you on this gay detection skill, agnostic.

    I was listening to NPR the other day (it's just on in the car, give me a break; it's background noise) and Terry Gross was interviewing Tim Gunn. I didn't know that Tim Gunn was gay. Mind you, my gaydar is fucking shit. It only goes off if it's so obvious as to raise my disgust. I didn't know that Anderson Cooper was gay until last year. These sneaky gay guys just slip right off the radar.

    Anyway, looking at Parsons's face, I immediately noticed the wide gap between his eyes. I've started to notice that a lot, not just with gay guys, but women as well. It usually implies some kind of sexual degeneracy. I've seen some female porn stars with wide gaps like that. Michael Sam is the same. Ricky Martin, yup.

    I can't believe this bearding nonsense though. I can't believe both gay men and women are in on it. It's so sneaky and treacherous.

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  6. What about liberals who are able to stereotype but suppress these urges, or keep it to themselves. They might feel an overwhelming urge to cross the street when a gang of vibrant yoofs approach, but suppress this urge.

    Or their fag friend might come out of the closet, and they will say, "Hey buddy, it's okay, we knew you were gay all along."

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  7. Curtis2:29 PM

    "First anecdotally - Jews are the most neurotic and most progressive group. Second analytically - huge amounts of effort in progressive thought are dedicated to avoiding anything that could cause hurt feelings."

    well, maybe I'm wrong to try to link every dimension of personality to the Big Five.

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  8. Curtis2:47 PM

    then again, as I said, "neurotic" is a bad term; what neuroticism means is easily experiencing negative emotions, which would seem to correlate with having a more developed disgust reflex; and as Agnostic said, liberals seem less emotional in general

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  9. short bus4:14 PM

    I've lived in SF for 55 years - my gaydar has to be better than yours. I'd say the chances of that b-baller being gay are less than 50%. Two modern societal trends lead me to this conclusion. First as we all know, women these radiant men who are compliant and deferential. Second, whites in a black dominated milieu such as the NBA play the roles blacks demand of them, which is a similar subservience - white guys can't be tough guys. So obviously, when caught on camera such a player is not going to be himself, and is going to carry facial expressions or adopt fashions he would avoid if he were an investment banker or surgeon. In those milieu, nobody would expect him to project friendliness. I know a gay bond lawyer in san Francisco whose presentation is the opposite of this guy's, always snarling and suspicious, the opposite of open. Incidentally, the best explanation I ever heard for why liberalism got such a grip on post-1960 Americans came from a psychiatrist. He surmised that it's all about an easy path to sophistication. He said that as of 1960, life had become too complex for most people to plausibly claim any sophistication about anything. Liberalism did was set up a structure in which the lazy and unintelligent could recognize each other as sophisticates merely for their willingness to sneer at any custom or practice that preceded them onto the scene. Thus you have the unitary Cathedral reaction to Rocker's quite reasonable observations. Wish I could recall the doc's name.

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  10. "I can't believe this bearding nonsense though."

    I had no idea about it either since I paid little attention to celebrities, current movies & pop music, etc. I went down the rabbit hole when I discovered that Blind Gossip site and so many red flags went off, either from my own observation or being pointed toward the truth by their many items about bearding.

    But when you think about what each side gets out of it, it's not too hard to make sense of. In these status-striving times, being part of a "power couple" does way more for your fame, income, job prospects, etc., than being single or in a relationship with some non-famous person of high status.

    The best boost you can get is if you're faux-dating your co-star or co-performer. Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson, or Jay Z and Beyonce.

    But in other industries, it's hard to find equally famous, high-status, attractive people of the opposite sex. Who is a female model going to date? Male models aren't famous or very rich. Who is a male sports star going to date? Female athletes are plain-looking, unknown, and not too wealthy.

    The most eager couples to get into a faux power couple are a girl with no sex drive, who finds men yucky and doesn't want even the potential pressure for sex, and a queer who's desperate to project and protect a masculine public image.

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  11. George5:55 PM

    Yes - too much space between the eyes, short nose and wide jaw - homo manchild

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  12. A Google Image search of Chandler Parsons leaves little doubt, but listen to this quote regarding his recent departure from the Houston Rockets to the Dallas Mavericks, and the ensuing drama. His former teammate Dwight Howard said that the loss of Parsons "won't affect us at all." Parsons replied:

    "I think it’s a ridiculous statement, but at the end of the day, he has to stick up for the Rockets and I don’t think he meant it in a bad way and didn’t try to bash me at all."

    That's an odd choice of words -- "bash" is usually more than a put-down or dismissal. Something more severe, more mean-spirited, and perhaps being beaten over the head again and again.

    There's one group, though, who describe bigotry against them with the word "bash" -- gay-bashing, fag-bashing, etc. It is rare to hear that word outside of that context nowadays. Bashing an idea or a product, maybe, but one person bashing another -- that usually is said when the target is gay.

    I think Parsons has already thought so much about gay-bashing that he let the word escape in a Freudian slip.

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/07/chandler-parsons-dwight-howard-james-harden-nba-offseason-drama

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  13. I think stereotypes generally exist for a reason. Lots of people notice something in lots of situations. But I have an extremely low regard for individual intuition. Most people don't collect track records of their predictions, and when researchers bother to do so intuitions with high degrees of confidence are frequently terrible. Since I am an individual, feel free to dismiss my guess that the gossip rags are mostly bullshit generated for people more drawn to buzziness than accuracy.

    I agree with you on the retroactive designations of famous historical figures, but I'd expect the sorts of evidence you're interested in might be scanty the further back in time you go.

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  14. Curtis8:37 PM

    TGGP does raise an interesting point, which is a lot of people seem to have bad judgement, or "believe what they want to believe" even when doing so is the wrong answer.

    " In these status-striving times, being part of a "power couple" does way more for your fame, income, job prospects, etc., than being single or in a relationship with some non-famous person of high status."

    In a previous post, you tied celebrity couples more to cocooning than inequality. I believe it is more tied to cocooning.

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  15. "Most people don't collect track records of their predictions, and when researchers bother to do so intuitions with high degrees of confidence are frequently terrible."

    Hold on there, you just swerved right off the track. You're talking about Philip Tetlock (and co.) studying credentialed professionals / experts making predictions about things that are difficult for anyone, pro or lay, to know that much about. Predict after Reagan's re-election, is the Soviet Union going to fall within the next however-many years? Predict now, what will be the inflation-adjusted price of gas in 2024?

    Correctly guessing whether someone is gay or not is way simpler than all that stuff. If you've spent more than a year in a heavily gay area, and you aren't an autistic libertarian (hence capable of noticing patterns around you), then you'll develop pretty good gaydar.

    Why? Queers are so deviant from normal men that it takes effort *not* to notice their differences. Conservatives (the ones who are good at noticing) tend to deliberately live far away from AIDS nests. But put one there, or sample the minority of liberals who are in touch with reality, and they can't help but develop strong gaydar.

    "Since I am an individual, feel free to dismiss my guess that the gossip rags are mostly bullshit generated for people more drawn to buzziness than accuracy."

    I'm dismissing your guess because you have no experience to have a strong intuition -- you're just pulling that guess out of thin air, unlike folks who say "that guy definitely pings my gaydar," who've been around gays -- willingly or not -- long enough to notice their myriad deviances.

    Not like you've read through the site I keep mentioning, Blind Gossip, and have seen time and again that they're wrong. Then the guess would count.

    The guy who runs the site is some kind of insider, not very high-ranking (or so I gather), and seems to be in a major publicist's agency. They are the ones who hammer out the contracts for faux relationships, and several times he has run items that call the end of a celeb couple's relationship before it actually happens, providing a close timeline for the break-up. Insiders know these details before they're made public.

    He also ran several items about J.Lo's fake boyfriend being a queer who was caught in public at gay bars. Not long after, it's publicly announced that he was involved with trannies.

    "I agree with you on the retroactive designations of famous historical figures, but I'd expect the sorts of evidence you're interested in might be scanty the further back in time you go."

    Watch some Queer Studies doctoral student forge a letter that mentions, casually, how Michelangelo refers to his ongoing project at the "Thith-tine" Chapel. Finally, the truth comes out!

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  16. Back to libs and cons, I don't think cons are higher in Neuroticism (although there are surely studies on that, and IIRC, libs are more neurotic). The brain studies show that cons are more emotionally alive -- whether those emotions be positive or negative. Libs don't seem to feel joy, love, or gratitude very often, and certain not compared to cons.

    Even on the negatives, libs don't feel disgust hardly at all, whereas it's one of the defining conservative emotions. And disgust isn't really that negative of an emotion -- no moral tradition has placed it among the major vices, sins, etc.

    Contrast with rage, which is the defining liberal emotion. All the world agrees that rage does more wrong than right. Neuroticism taps into anger more than feeling disgusted.

    Based on what we know, I'd guess libs would attribute rage to cons, when cons would actually feel disgust. Anger and disgust are close but still hard to confuse, for folks who aren't spergs.

    There was a study awhile ago showing that (East) Asians were poor at decoding emotions from facial expressions, compared to Europeans. I believe it was because they looked mostly at the eyes, rather than eyes + mouth, and lost the information from the lower half of the face.

    Someone should re-do that with libs and cons. Who wants to bet that those who score high on conservative morality will be better at reading faces, and that the most hardcore of moral liberals -- the libertarians -- will go down in flames?

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  17. re: Anonymous1:17 PM

    Thats interesting you say that because over the past months, Ive noticed a number of lesbians with the wide eyes and have begun to use it to identify other lesbians that arent open. It has explained a few odd cases of females.

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  18. Curtis10:54 PM

    I guess this clip of Parsons, groping Jeremy Lin, def. falls under "I'm a little stinker" category
    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1801904-chandler-parsons-tricks-jeremy-lin-into-sitting-on-his-hand

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  19. Curtis11:20 PM

    chandler has a fixation on Jeremy Lin:

    "Chandlers says spending time with you was the best valentine's day ever..."

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cIE84Qiio4

    Chandler Parsons GAY LOOK at Jeremy Lin

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh0PSAiC3DA

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  20. Curtis11:48 PM

    " I'd say the chances of that b-baller being gay are less than 50%"

    Looks like Agnostic was 1000% right on this one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIHCW9xnv90

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  21. Anonymous6:47 AM

    juv,

    So it applies to lesbians as well? Huh.

    Curtis,

    I thought about posting that. Gay as hell. I don't care if it's a joke or not, it's gay.

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  22. I was mostly thinking of Robyn Dawes (perhaps melded a bit with Kahneman & Tversky) rather than Tetlock, but he is a useful addition. The track records bit came from Robin Hanson, although I'd expect Tetlock influenced him there.

    You're right I haven't bothered to read "Blind Gossip", and I assumed it was a collective rather than an individual. I was generalizing based on supermarket rags, links to online versions of such I see on the sidebars of more respectable sites, and what I've heard of sites like Hill Buzz at Sailer's, where gays are always seeking to claim Mike Piazza or Obama as one of them. The incidence of homosexuality is quite low, so like any good Bayesian my prior is going to be against it by default. Then we have you, claiming your gaydar is so finely attuned that you determined Sandra Bullock was born a man despite all biographical evidence to the contrary and the lack of anything supporting it other than said gaydar. Eventually scientists will discover whatever pathogen actually causes it and detect lesions in the brain, but until then gossipers can always claim (like a conspiracy theorist) that the truth is hidden, no matter how accepting society has gotten.

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  23. I've written about or mentioned in passing way more cases than just Sandy. All are pretty clear, too. You don't need much experience to get a finely tuned gaydar because gays and normals are separated by about 5 to 10 standard deviations (...approximately).

    "All biological evidence" points against Sandy being a woman, btw. Looks like a man everywhere that we can tell directly. Adopted rather than conceived. And shows the distinct mannerisms of a flaming male homosexual -- which is nothing like a normal female -- in that video I linked to, showing an interview with her in the late '80s, before becoming a star.

    Not to mention legions of others searching Google, wondering whether she was born a man.

    I maintain that she's a post-op trannie, albeit the least clear of the cases I've looked into, for obvious reasons.

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  24. Anonymous3:55 PM

    Ian Thorpe came out.. Having watched him asca pundit, I was astonished this was even news. I assumed it was as obvious to others as to me.

    Likewise Cowell. Come on! A man with a talent and love for scouting teen boys and making them stars. And those affected mannerisms. I'd put my life savings on it.

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  25. You've written about cases other than Bullock, but that one essentially lit your credibility on fire and makes me unable to take your claims of "top 1% gaydar" seriously.

    Not sure if you were trying to be clever with your word choice, but I referred to "biographical", not "biological" evidence (although according to the camel toe guy in that comment thread, that evidence is also against tranny-hood). She identified as female and was considered as such as far back as there is evidence, even as a little kid, and parents of a kid born in 1964 wouldn't accept that. Lots of other people knew her when she was young and nobody says she was ever male (a person claiming to be such a witness even showed up in the comments thread). It would be a lot to cover up and I've never heard of anyone doing that successfully unless the circumstances (whether hermaphrodite or Reimer-esque early reassignment) were such that they themselves were unaware of it. That's why I said AIS was a much more plausible theory, although given the base rate still extremely unlikely.

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  26. Steve Johnson wrote: "Because the implicit progressive line is that you'll never be outed as long as you're progressive - and that you will and can be outed if you ever oppose progressives."

    This is something I've never understood about Progressives. If being gay/bi/whatever isn't "wrong" then why worry about outing someone? Does anyone worry about outing Russell Brand or Geread Butler as heteros when their conquests are detailed on TMZ?

    The only plausible explanation is Progressives don't think all that lgbtqxyzhusf stuff is kosher, but they don't/can't admit it publicly.

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  27. Curtis12:39 PM

    "interesting. I guess that, on the Big Five, conservatives would score high on neuroticism and liberals lower."

    I think the data (read jonathan haidt) says cons are less neurotic

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  28. Startle responses tend to be higher for Conservatives, which is a fear /vigilance response, not disgust. That's not really an emotion though.

    I don't get the sense Conservatives really experience emotion or thoughts in any deep fashion though. They've always seemed more unfeeling "Get on with the job" type people, not ruminative at all. People who self describe as Conservatives generally seem to me to be what agnostic has called "dog people" to me - go along with the hierarchy, unsentimental, don't think much about anything unconventional too much, concentrate on climbing the ladder and Reaganised low tax rates for the self (whether agnostic or whoever feels these are not real conservatives, or are only some of the Conservatives or what have you).

    Anger being more Liberal sounds correct. Anger is generally a response to perceived ill treatment, of the self and others. Anger is connected to perceived unfair treatment - not giving people what they deserve, although that doesn't mean that the person is accurately perceiving what they deserve. Conservatives tend to be more submissive to the group and its authorities types, so they might not get as angry, relatively, except where a disgust response is amping it up.

    Religions tend to emphasize and describe both righteous anger and wrath.

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  29. Those brain studies show that conservatives do feel emotions more / more strongly. You're looking too narrowly at "emotions" to mean only the downers. What about joy, warmth, gratitude, and so on? Or loss? -- no big loss if your goal is to Always Be Progressing. Or shame? -- can't feel that if it's not part of your moral framework.

    Pigeon-holing conservatives as Reaganite / Thatcherite tax-breakers is wrong when the context has been moral psychology. Those guys were very clearly moral libertarians -- even more morally liberal than liberals.

    Garden-variety anger is not righteous, which is exceptional. Most anger out there is the result of pride, hubris, arrogance, superiority. Everyone owes me everything, and the bastards aren't deferring to my awesomeness -- they all must pay! Or, I'm being held to perform duties toward others -- cast off the parasites, and I'll be free and healthy at last!

    Humble folks don't feel slighted over every little annoyance, nor parasitized by every little responsibility to others.

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  30. Curtis8:47 AM

    The inability to form stereotypes, and recognize patterns, may explain liberal opposition to capitilism. Leftists claim that capitilism is exploitive, but it is only the leftists who are being exploited, because they do not have the instincts to protect themselves from false advertising. If you can't sense when someone is selling you a load of bull, vs. a genuine deal or product, one solution to avoid being harmed is to ban all transactions in general.

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  31. I'm still not convinced. One of my stereotypes of Conservatives is these unemotional stoic common sense men, not exactly emotional, while I associate Liberals with emotional ladies who get very emotional about art and so on. I've chatted to a lot of guys online you seem to think Liberals are ruled by emotion. Unfeeling, hard hearted Conservatives vs bleeding heart Liberals. Maybe those men aren't very Conservative from a moral foundations perspective.

    And that tends to be the more common stereotype of Conservatives, for an example - http://jspp.psychopen.eu/article/view/184/13 - "This research demonstrated that human nature (HN) and human uniqueness (HU) traits capture the content of Americans’ stereotypes about liberals and conservatives, respectively. Consistent with expectations derived from dehumanization theory, people more strongly associated HN traits with liberals than with conservatives, and more strongly associated HU traits with conservatives than with liberals. "

    http://www.in-mind.org/blog/post/bleeding-heart-liberals-and-hard-hearted-conservatives-political-dehumanization-in-the - " Human nature (HN) encompasses traits that are seen as essential and fundamental to human beings (e.g., friendly, impatient). In contrast, human uniqueness (HU) entails traits that are seen as unique and distinctive to human beings, separating us from non-human animals (e.g., polite, shallow). Mechanistic dehumanization involves denying HN traits to groups, thereby characterizing those groups as unemotional, cold, and rigid, and likening them to machines. On the other hand, animalistic dehumanization involves denying HU traits to groups, thereby characterizing those groups as overly emotional and instinctual, and likening them to lower forms of animal life or children."


    Specifically, liberals were more likely to associate negative HU traits (e.g., cold; hard-hearted) with conservatives, and this association was driven by prejudice against conservatives. Thus, liberals’ dislike of conservatives explains why they think of them as cold and unfeeling. Even more interestingly, conservatives were more likely to associate positive HN traits (e.g., passionate; fun-loving) with liberals, and this association was driven by prejudice against liberals. Thus, somewhat paradoxically, conservatives’ prejudice against liberals manifests in associating them with positive traits. However, these positive traits (e.g., fun-loving; trusting; passionate) essentially function to belittle and trivialize liberals.

    Perhaps this is a case of society's "lying eyes" where the more common stereotype is the opposite of reality for some reason?

    On spergy measures, Liberal folk don't really seem different on empathizer vs systematizer scales either, which seem to be the best measure of sperginess we have. There's a sample here who show the typical Conservative moral foundations but the Cons don't seem particularly less interested in systematizing vs empathising (thinking about things vs emotions) https://webfiles.uci.edu/phditto/peterditto/Publications/Iyer%20et%20al%202012.pdf. (Libertarians are more spergy).

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  32. The neuroscience stuff you've linked to is interesting - but they don't actually clearly provide evidence that Conservatives feel more strongly, exactly. What it does say though, is

    "Remember, the Kanai study found a correlation between increased volume of the right amygdala and the tendency to identify with the conservative party.
    A recent unrelated study [PDF] of emotion regulation strategies and brain responses showed that there is specific lateralization of brain activation depending on the type of regulation strategy employed. Translation: Using reappraisal strategies—sometimes thought of as “intellectualizing” or cognitive reevaluation—activated the left side of the amygdala, while emotional suppression of visible behaviors and feelings activated the right side

    .... conservatives were found to have a larger right amygdala"
    (not left or total volume) ", the side activated when attempting to hide or suppress and emotional reaction".

    Perhaps, and I'll admit this is speculative, the way to square the circle of your idea that Conservatives are more emotional and the general public stereotype that they are less emotional (and more repressed) is that, inferring from the neuroscience above, Conservatives may (or may not) be more emotional but also tend to manage conflicts with that emotion and social duty and image by being much more repressed than Liberals.

    Liberals reprogram their emotional reactions using "logic" and reappraisal, which often ends up with them in lala land where their emotional responses are these cloud cuckoo inauthentic emotional responses that are completely out of whack with reality, while Conservatives deal with the gap between their emotions and social convention by repression, then totally jump out of their tree / lose their shit every now and then when the pressure of denying their basic emotions gets too much.

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  33. Reagan & Thatcher may have had some popularity with libertarians but they were quite popular among conservatives. Conservatives in the U.S. today still try to one-up each other in their praise of Reagan. You could attempt to redefine things by saying only some subset who shares some set of traits you define as "conservative" qualify, but I'd think that rather pointless when most of the people who identify and are identified as "conservative" consider Reagan one of their favorite presidents.

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  34. Re-read the comment rather than spastically jump to conclusions so you can attempt to get in a gotcha comment.

    It reads: "Reaganite / Thatcherite tax-breakers" -- not Reagan or Thatcher, but the anti-tax partisans. This was in the context of M's claim that conservativse "concentrate on climbing the ladder and Reaganised low tax rates for the self." Note again nothing about Reagan but the gimme-gimme / all-mine attitude of that era in Congress and among voters (AKA Silents and Boomers).

    This is obvious libertarian morality, not conservative, regardless of what party they affiliated with.

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  35. Never heard of "gay face" before - thanks for cluing me in. Now I'll have to check out the faces of the couple of gay guys I know.

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  36. Contrarian5:51 AM

    Jonathan Haidt looks gay to me.

    @agnostic: I recall reading that neurotics are lefties. But most lefties or liberals are not neurotic.

    -
    Contrarian

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