A controversial new study hints it may be possible to look at a room and figure out how that room's inhabitant is voting. Set to be published in the Journal of Political Psychology the study asserts that empty pizza box is "behavioral residue" that points to "distinct cognitive inclinations" that sends liberals in the direction of ambiguity and intellectualism, and spins conservatives toward order. These inclinations "drive the way one leads one's life and displays one's life in their living and work spaces," says one of the study's authors. Here are the differences they've found — see if you buy their findings:
- Right-leaners often have spaces filled with calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials. Fun! Darning socks time!
- Their bedrooms and offices are well-lighted.
- They decorate with sports paraphernalia and flags — especially American ones.
- The study's authors say, "Conservatives have a need for order, for there not to be ambiguity. There you see that expressed by being more orderly, having more cleaning supplies, needing to have everything lined up and organized so that one feels one's environment is predictable and therefore safe."
Curious about that messy room? To find out their findings on liberals,
- Lefties have spaces that are colorful and filled with books about travel, ethnicity, feminism, and music.
- They have music collections covering folk, classic, and modern rock.
- While they're rocking out to the above collection, they're looking at their art supplies, movie tickets, and travel memorabilia.
- The study's authors say, "It's pleasurable for liberals to think more. They gravitate toward art, to things that are not as concrete."
Do some of these conclusions sound. . . stereotypical? Not everyone is on board with the science behind the conclusions. Political scientist Evan Charney, a fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy at Duke University, says,
"Confirmation bias has flooded into this [area of] study. I'm a liberal but I don’t believe liberals are superior people or that there's an obvious correlation between personality and political ideology. [The studies] take the most value-laden language and treat it as if you're talking about a left-spinning or right-spinning neutron. They are invariably going to reflect the value assumptions of a society—in this case, academic liberals."
Conservatives, are you home making a McCain/Palin quilt in your brightly lit room? What do you make of this? Good science?