While our personalities are correlated with whether we are liberal or conservative, it seems that neither one of these causes the other. Instead, their correlation is caused by something else that causes both, and that is caused in part by genetics:
This is interesting, but what do they consider "liberal" and "conservative"? We have the strange situation in the U.S. that taking away the rights to own weapons, constraining free markets, reducing certain types of personal autonomy, and raising taxes, are all considered "liberal", though all are reversions to medieval norms. I find it hard to entertain such systematic explanations of "liberal" and "conservative" when the positions themselves often seem arbitrary.
I would be interested in seeing if these relationships have changed through time. I used to read a great deal of Sci-Fi, but not so much anymore. Mostly because it is hard to find new Sci-Fi that doesn't push watermelon environmentalism.
I'm politically conservative (in both a social and economic sense), and for me cerebral/nonfiction, aesthetic/musical (eg, I really liked that George Herbert poetry book Tyler Cowen recommended), and dark/alternative are my favorites. I get these are averages and what not, but I have trouble getting on board with things that directly contradict introspection. Is this a bias of mine?
Reality and soaps are highbrow?
Birds of a feather, it would help if they laid out frequencies. I am stronger Dark/Alternative, sci-fi, but video, not text.
You can't just pretend everyone agrees on a definition of "personality" where you can just strip personality of political preferences and media preferences without changing personality.
This is all really messy and pretty much pointless since people have such vastly different definitions of the key terms in their heads (and it's likely the authors also maintain different and conflicting definitions) that these kind of "research" papers just sow confusion rather than increase our knowledge of the world.
While I have some stronger preferences, I also have others, so I always wonder how extreme these have to be to be significant.
Presumably our innate behavioral tendencies have always expressed themselves in our choices of free time activities from the menu available from at one's time, place and class.
Weirdly, I also favor Cerebral/Nonfiction first, and Dark/Alternative a weak second.
(I probably *view myself* as more of a sci-fi fan than I really am, truth be told I don't read much fiction.)
Edit: I wonder if this is a common set of preferences among Overcoming Bias readers. If you were too *stereotype* the kind of people who read blogs like Overcoming Bias, you'd probably stereotype them as sci-fi fans, but I wonder how many of your readers similarly don't read much fiction.
So media genre preference is actually a plausible candidate for something closer to whatever causes personality and political orientation, and is caused in part by genes.
Before the advent of media, there was no differentiation of personality and ideology?
That's fair. But you were interested in the "causal facts of the matter" enough to make today's post. Presumably, these facts of the matter are independent of current academic fashions.
Glymour, being a causal inference person, (and a long list of others, me included) would say that factor analysis will not tell you anything about causality without carefully listed assumptions (this is because factor analysis just thinks about the joint distribution, and the joint distribution alone will not give you causal facts).
If you ever find the time to read his paper worthwhile, I would be curious about your opinion.
There are big coordination and network effects that entrench methods in academic fields. These make it hard for a small group to switch to new methods, even better methods. That said, I haven't studied Glamor's proposed method enough to have an opinion on if a switch would be better. I'm more interested in the quality of the institutions we use to make such choices, than what particular choice we should make in this case.
My question is about Glymour's critique (which I think is relevant to the current discussion as well), not about The Bell Curve itself.
I don't recall Hanson ever mentioning that book, but Bryan Caplan does and is more interested in philosophical arguments over the methods of social science. You might want to ask him.
I've noticed that comment sections at the AV Club, which is probably less "inherently political" than econ blogs, appear to be more uniform in their politics. Although it could be that those with minority opinions (such as myself) mostly keep them to ourselves in such places.
Robin, what are your thoughts on this paper by Clark Glymour: