Reject Your Personality’s Politics

Tyler Cowen points us to a Psychology Today article on how your personality correlates with whether you are conservative or liberal.   When reading below about the correlations, resist the temptation to focus on which side is flattered the most.  Instead, see these as markers of bias.  Unless you have a better than average reason to think your personality type has better insight into what policies are good for society, it is a bias to let your policy beliefs be influenced by your personality.  Instead try to move your beliefs to those you would have had with an average personality.  Those correlations:

Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics.  …

Liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art. Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio. Liberal men like romantic comedies more than conservative men. Liberal women are more likely than conservative women to enjoy books, poetry, writing in a diary, acting, and playing musical instruments. …

As kids, liberals had developed close relationships with peers and were rated by their teachers as self-reliant, energetic, impulsive, and resilient. People who were conservative at age 23 had been described by their teachers as easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and vulnerable at age 3. …

Conservatives have a greater desire to reach a decision quickly and stick to it, and are higher on conscientiousness, which includes neatness, orderliness, duty, and rule-following. Liberals are higher on openness, which includes intellectual curiosity, excitement-seeking, novelty, creativity for its own sake, and a craving for stimulation like travel, color, art, music, and literature. … conservatives have less tolerance for ambiguity, …

Of course many say the focus of these results is biased:

Yet critics retort that the research draws negative conclusions about conservatives while the researchers themselves are liberal. … a disproportionate amount of the research has focused on figuring out what’s behind conservative behavior. … "There is a bias among social scientists," admits Glaser. "They look for the variables that are unflattering."

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