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Wingnuts scare easy

Liberals should look for votes among those who laugh at horror movies, while those who avoid such fare (like me) are conservative.

Scared Stupid image from outsidethetent.comYour automatic reaction to fear explains your politics. (Picture from Outside the Tent.)

Before you start jumping up-and-down, however, let's be clear what we mean by politics. Researchers correlated the terms "conservative" and "liberal" to support of established institutions, not the stands taken by parties or politicians.

It's social conservatism, not political conservatism, which is being measured here. It's fear of change, and obedience to hierarchy, which defines conservatism in terms of this research.

Your political mileage, in other words, may vary.

The experiment, conducted at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers), involved measuring the skin conductivity of 46 subjects who claimed strong political positions, then showing them scary images.

They also scared the subjects with sudden noises, and measured their blinking after being startled.

Here is the nut graph:

"Those with the strongest eye or skin reactions to unexpected noises or threatening pictures...tended to endorse political positions that were interpreted as protective of social groups."

In other words, liberals should look for votes among those who laugh at horror movies, while those who avoid such fare (like me) are conservative.

Rice political scientist John Alford related this to the Iraq War, saying war supporters are biologically predisposed to a strong reaction when threatened.

While this doesn't explain my own politics it may explain some of the day's headlines. While the rush to fix markets may seem to violate conservative political dogma, it is motivated by fear that institutions will fail.[poll id=24]