Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2111700
 
 

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Liberals Think More Analytically (More 'Weird') than Conservatives


Thomas Talhelm


University of Virginia - Psychology

Jonathan Haidt


NYU-Stern School of Business

Shigehiro Oishi


University of Virginia - Psychology

Xuemin Zhang


Beijing Normal University (BNU)

Felicity Miao


University of Virginia - Psychology

Shimin Chen


South China Normal University

July 17, 2012


Abstract:     
Henrich and colleagues (2010) summarized cultural differences in psychology and argued that people from one particular culture are outliers: people from societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD). In this study, we show that liberals think WEIRDer than conservatives. In five studies with more than 3,000 participants, we found that liberals think more analytically (an element of WEIRD thought) than moderates and conservatives — even in China. We found that social liberals had more analytic perception in the framed-line task (Kitayama, Duffy, Kawamura, & Larsen, 2003) and categorized objects more analytically on the triad task, which asks participants to categorize a group of objects based on either abstract categories or intuitive relation (Ji, Zhang, & Nisbett, 2004). Social politics predicted thought style much better than economic and overall political identity. Studies 4 and 5 showed that briefly training people to think analytically made them form a more liberal opinion on welfare, whereas training them to think holistically made them form a more conservative opinion.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 34

Keywords: politics, cognitive style, analytic, holistic, liberal, culture, categorization

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Date posted: July 18, 2012  

Suggested Citation

Talhelm, Thomas and Haidt, Jonathan and Oishi, Shigehiro and Zhang, Xuemin and Miao, Felicity and Chen, Shimin, Liberals Think More Analytically (More 'Weird') than Conservatives (July 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2111700 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2111700

Contact Information

Thomas Talhelm (Contact Author)
University of Virginia (UVA) - Psychology ( email )
United States
Jonathan Haidt
NYU-Stern School of Business ( email )
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Shigehiro Oishi
University of Virginia (UVA) - Psychology ( email )
United States
Xuemin Zhang
Beijing Normal University (BNU) ( email )
19 Xin jie kou wai da jie
Beijing, 100875
China
Felicity Miao
University of Virginia (UVA) - Psychology ( email )
United States
Shimin Chen
South China Normal University ( email )
Guangzhou, 510631
China
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