Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Whiny kids: Personality and Politics

The Toronto Star has an interesting article up discussing a recent Berkley study on politics and personality. For 40 years, Professor Jack Block and his wife followed 95 children from nursery school to adulthood. As it turns out, they found a correlation between children that were whiney and paranoid becoming conservatives and confident, self-reliant kids becoming liberals.

The work is not without its critics. Jeff Greenberg, a social psychologist at the University of Arizona has already begun the charge to discredit the study, calling it "poor science at best." It should also be noted that the small sample size, combined with only a .27 correlation means that the results should be taken with a ginormous grain of salt. Still, it's interesting research. As the article muses:

All of us, liberal or conservative, feel as though we've reached our political opinions by carefully weighing the evidence and exercising our best judgment. But it could be that all of that careful reasoning is just after-the-fact self-justification. What if personality forms our political outlook, with reason coming along behind, rationalizing after the fact?
So what do you think? How does your personality correlate with your politics?

1 comment:

Garrett said...

seems most likely to me that "whiney" kids would tend to rebel against whatever it was the group they were whining against believed in. so yeah, a whiney kid in berkeley would be a conservative. maybe whiney texans are liberals.