Political beliefs: It’s in the eyes

Want to know whether someone is a conservative or a liberal? There’s no longer a need to figure out how to work the question into a conversation (“How about that Obama, eh?”). Just look into the other person’s eyes, a study out of Nebraska says. (LiveScience.com)

People normally respond to “gaze cues,” or the direction that another person is looking, by glancing to see what caught that person’s attention. The new study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, finds that liberals respond much more strongly to such cues than conservatives. The finding is the latest in a series of clues that liberals and conservatives may be subtly different on a biological level, said study researcher Michael Dodd, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Researchers are suggesting how you react to things around you might indicate your political leanings. Or not.

“I do tend to think that it is more likely that basic cognitive biases influence how you process the world, making you more or less likely to seek out liberal or conservative ideals,” the researcher said.

  • kwatt

    So if it’s biological, can I really be held accountable for it?

  • kwatt

    So if it’s biological, can I really be held accountable for it?

  • kwatt

    Double postings: Also biological.

  • GregS

    My favorite paragraph of the article was:

    “There are several possible explanations for the result, Dodd said. One possibility is that liberals are more empathetic and thus more responsive to others. Another theory is that conservatives are better at following instructions and were thus more likely to listen when the researchers said to ignore the face.”

    (snarf)

  • kennedy

    The post says nothing about biology, only correlates political leanings with a particular reaction to another’s behavior.

    Summarizing, people that glance where someone else is looking tend to be more liberal. Does that say liberals are easily distracted or does it say liberals are more sensitive to nonverbal cues?

  • Bob Collins

    “The post says nothing about biology..”

    From the link:

    “I think the important thing to take from this line of research is that it is another piece of evidence that biology can influence political temperament,” Dodd said. “I don’t think it is the sole influence, but it is another important piece of the puzzle that should not be ignored.”

  • kennedy

    My mistake, the researcher did mention biology. The study, however, was based on behavior. Since we are living organisms, I guess all our actions/reactions are biological.

    To clarify, the researcher did not provide any evidence linking DNA sequence to political leanings.

  • GregS

    “it is another piece of evidence that biology can influence political temperament – Bob (taken from the article)”

    Biology?

    Why can’t reaction to faces be an environmental (learned) behavior?