Liberal Voters Are Harder On Centrists Than Conservatives, Study Finds

Study Finds | 10/27/2017 | Staff (Posted by) Level 3
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LINCOLN, Neb. — Self-identified liberal voters are less forgiving to Democratic politicians who cross party lines on certain issues than conservative voters are to Republican lawmakers doing the same thing, a recent study shows.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska used MRI technology to examine the brains of 58 people when they face incongruent positions by politicians. The researchers wanted to see which parts of the brain lit up when people evaluated fictional politicians’ stances on key conservative and liberal issues.

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Americans often struggle when a lawmaker they support crosses party lines, but a new study shows liberals tend to take the action much more harder than conservatives.

Participants in the study were asked to analyze political stances of four fictional candidates, two Democrats and two Republicans. With their brains being scanned by the MRI machine, individuals were shown about 50 stock images related to the candidates and given their positions on topics including immigration, same-sex marriage, climate change, and gun control. About one-third of the positions were not in line with party beliefs. After each image and policy stance was presented, participants were asked to decide on the spot if each stance was “good” or “bad.” Researchers calculated in milliseconds the amount of time it took for individuals to reach their decision.

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The experiment proved more difficult for left-leaning participants when faced with a candidate who embraced a more conservative position on a topic. Liberals were more likely to notice when Democrats crossed party lines and, consequently, labeled these positions as “bad” more frequently. They also took longer...
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