Technorati href="http://www.technorProfile Thinking Nurse: Psychological Differences Between Left and Right

Thinking Nurse

This blog will reflect my interests in learning disabilities, nursing, nursing theory, philosophy and politics and my general interests in the arts and literature. (Nursing is an art as well as a science!) Philosophy and nursing have been intrinsically linked since the days of Socrates, his mother was a midwife, and taught him everything he knew!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Psychological Differences Between Left and Right

I was very interested to read this article in the Psychological Bulletin, where exhaustive research has been conducted into the cognitive styles of people holding left and right wing opinions - the study by Jost, Glaser and Kruglanski (2003) found that there are 'significant cognitive and motivational differences between the political left and right' (p384).
They characterise right-wing conservatism as 'positively related to dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity, uncertainty avoidance, fear of threat, loss and death, system instability and epistemic needs to achieve order, structure and closure, as well as negatively related to openness to experience, integrative complexity and self esteem'

later they argue that 'conservative opinions acquire coherence by virtue of the fact that they minimise uncertainty and threat while pursuing continuity with the past (i.e the status quo) and rationalising inequalities in society...extreme right wing movements are typically obsessed with purity, cleanliness, hygiene, structure and order'

The authors of this paper will be speaking on it at the American Psychological Society 17th Annual convention I would love to be there to hear the debate!

Here is one example of the kind of response it will receive Psychobabble as motivated political liberalism Even the title of this riposte inadvertently confirms part of the argument it is replying to - psychologists are writing things that seem critical of the right - so all psychology is dismissed, in black and white terms as 'psychobabble', a threat to the certainties and fundamentals of 'morality' and 'tradition' in which the right is so emotionally and cognitively entangled .

Here is a link to a pdf of the article that started all the fuss: Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition

Personally I think psychology is often a way of stating the blindingly obvious - and the discovery that right wing politicians are rigid, functioning on fear and crude stereotype, demanding that all issues should be posed in black and white terms of right and wrong, rather than the shades of grey that we encounter in reality, and the fact that they are complacent about widening levels of inequality and injustice in society, is hardly news to anyone who has ever tried to engage such individuals in constructive debate.

The authors judgement of 'liberal' and 'left' thinkers should be taken on board however - we are seen as 'relatively disorganised, indecisive, overly drawn to ambiguity' - perhaps if the left sorted it's act out, we could start to challenge the rise of the neo-con fear factory...


At 3:53 AM, Anonymous ScottB RN said...

As if these conclusions were not "blindingly obvious".

The funny thing is that as conservatives attempt dismiss an intellectual attempt to examine these differences, it just adds evidence to bolster the authors' conclusions. Conservatives abhor anything that challenges their status quo.

Here in the U.S., the conclusions made by the authors can be seen in our current administration with a display of complete certainty, faith, and arrogance that they are absolutely correct in whatever they do (order, structure, & dogma) and are showing a disdain for critical inquiry and discourse when moving forward with many of their policies.

Thank-you for bringing this very interesting paper to my attention.

At 3:54 AM, Anonymous ScottB RN said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If You are Tired of NOT getting anywhere in Life. not being able to accomplish what it is out of life you want to. Ive been there and I still have my ups and downs in life but they don't seem to be the same downs, there are more ups in my life. I wrote a book on self improvement book . It is to the point on what you need to do to change your life. I wont make this real long.. If you need to make more money .. have a better relationship with someone or your just tired of the same old you.. then visit us at and find out more about self improvement book


Post a Comment

<< Home

Cost of the War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
To see more details, click here.
Technorati search
Free Web Counter
Free Hit Counter Who Links Here Blogarama - The Blog Directory