By JR on Saturday, October 29, 2011
This is a good confirmation of Haidt's research about the greater moral complexity of conservatives and shows why Leftists are unmoved by such things as abortion and Communist mass-murder. They really are emotionally deficient. Like psychopaths, their only real emotion is hate
How easy do you find it to look at revolting images such as a man eating worms? If the answer is 'difficult', it might offer an insight into your politics.
Scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln showed 50 volunteers a series of 38 disgusting images - including one of a man eating worms (the actual image is pictured, right).
Others included an incredibly emaciated body, a bloody wound and an open sore with maggots in it, as well as human excrement floating in a toilet.
The researchers then measured the electrical 'disgust' response in the skin of their 50 volunteers. When people are disgusted, their reaction causes a measurable change in the electrical conductivity in their skin. It's a 'disgust' response that cannot lie.
They found, as they had predicted, that people who expressed strong conservative political views had a far stronger disgust response. People who were repulsed by the images were particularly likely to disapprove of gay marriage.
The researchers accept that people of all political hues are unlikely to accept their ideas - people like to imagine their political views are rational, rather than physical.
But they pointed out that it's far more likely that the disgust response could influence a person's politics than the other way round.
The researchers wrote, 'Individuals with marked involuntary responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images.'
Sex-related issues appeared to be most strongly influenced by the 'disgust' response - a primitive instinct designed to protect people from disease.
The researchers suggest that basic, physical responses might be closely tied to our politics. Interestingly, that suggests that politics could be influenced far more strongly by genetic factors than previously believed. [That is already well-confirmed]
'Mounting evidence points to the relevance of subconscious factors in political decision-making situations,' wrote the researchers.
In the evolutionary scheme of things, disgust about homosexuality and incest obviously has survival value as both are detrimental to reproduction. As Haidt has shown, conservatives have the full set of emotional responses; Leftists do not