Psychology: Liberals Care More About Rocks Than About Their Own Families
Study suggests that leftists have an almost precisely inverted scale of values compared to rightists. Instead of a hierarchy of concern with one’s own family, nation, and race highest on the scale, leftists place abstractions like “all objects in the universe” — including such things as rocks — or “all mankind” — in first place.
THE IMAGE ABOVE shows two “heatmaps” indicating highest moral allocation of value by ideology, in section 3a of this group of studies. Source data are provided as a Source Data file in the original article. The highest value on the heatmap scale is 20 units for liberals, and 12 units for conservatives. Moral circle rings, from inner to outer, are described as follows: (1) all of your immediate family, (2) all of your extended family, (3) all of your closest friends, (4) all of your friends (including distant ones), (5) all of your acquaintances, (6) all people you have ever met, (7) all people in your country, (8) all people on your continent, (9) all people on all continents, (10) all mammals, (11) all amphibians, reptiles, mammals, fish, and birds, (12) all animals on earth including paramecia and amoebae, (13) all animals in the universe, including alien lifeforms, (14) all living things in the universe including plants and trees, (15) all natural things in the universe including inert entities such as rocks, (16) all things in existence.
Do clashes between ideologies reflect policy differences or something more fundamental? The present research suggests they reflect core psychological differences such that liberals express compassion toward less structured and more encompassing entities (i.e., universalism), whereas conservatives express compassion toward more well-defined and less encompassing entities. Here we report seven studies illustrating universalist versus parochial differences in compassion. Studies 1a-1c show that liberals, relative to conservatives, express greater moral concern toward friends relative to family, and the world relative to the nation. Studies 2a-2b demonstrate these universalist versus parochial preferences extend toward simple shapes depicted as proxies for loose versus tight social circles. Using stimuli devoid of political relevance demonstrates that the universalist-parochialist distinction does not simply reflect differing policy preferences. Studies 3a-3b indicate these universalist versus parochial tendencies extend to humans versus nonhumans more generally, demonstrating the breadth of these psychological differences.
These differential tendencies toward parochialism and universalism on the political right and left, respectively, extend beyond the United States as well. For example, leading French right-wing politician, Marie Le Pen declared in 2016, “The gap is not between the Left and the Right, but between globalists and patriots. The globalists are acting for the dilution of France and its people in a huge worldwide magma. The patriots hope that the nation constitutes the most protective space for the French.” Across Western Europe, ideological battles between the left and right have centered on this tension between universalism and parochialism.
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Source: read the full article at Nature Communications