Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Psychology of Politics

"All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

The Facebook question was simple enough: Are you watching the State of the Union address tonight? Tell us what you think of the president's speech? What followed in the Comments was an interesting combination of political banter from many of the readers. Few of them actually answered the question. Inevitably, the insults were hurled and names were called. As I read the postings with some level of detached amusement, I began to wonder: How do our political beliefs develop? Is it as simple as socio-economic status, or following the politics of our parents?

As I considered this topic, and began to look around for answers, I found some surprising, funny and interesting research and information. Here I will make a disclaimer: People are individuals, and the information is meant for amusement (although it is based in research) and food for thought; it is not meant to diagnose, classify, categorize or judge anyone. I decided to post this blog to try to lighten the political mood, and give people a chuckle. When it comes to politics, we sometimes take ourselves too seriously, and we are in serious need of some levity....

Here are some highlights of interesting tidbits I found about Liberals and Conservatives....

1. People who tend to lean to the left or to the right have actual differences in their temperament.
2. Conservatives and liberals actually have different home and office decor
3. Conservatives are neater, more organized and more conventional.
4. Liberals are messier, have more color and display maps and flags from around the world.
5. Liberals have more books, and like to read.
6. Conservatives are more likely to be religious.
7. Liberals are more likely to listen to classical and jazz music, while conservatives are more likely to enjoy country.
8. Conservatives tend to think about things, and liberals tend to use feelings to make decisions.

It's important to realize that people tend to read articles, blogs and watch news channels that support their ALREADY FORMED OPINIONS. Taking in these outlets does not generally sway someones beliefs, but merely reinforces their opinions. In general, people's political views tend to be based on several factors, such as how educated, how dangerous we perceive the world to be, and personality traits that are first seen when we are young children. Furthermore, it seems that FEAR is one of the strongest motivators. Following 9/11, there was a shift toward conservatism, and people were comforted by those ideals, the simplicity of right and wrong, black and white, and the need for clear answers.

What's clear to me, was what the President said in his speech.  We may fight and argue, but none of us would ever have it any other way. At least in our country we have the ability to disagree. In many countries, they do not have the freedom to choose, to vote or to have a voice. At the end of the day, I am still proud to be an American, because in America, I can write this blog.

If you are conflicted about your political leanings, need help organizing your life, or are afraid...ASK A PSYCHOLOGIST (Didn't think I was going to leave that out, did you?).

For more information about the above blog and the research it contains about The Psychology of Politics, please click here:


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