Just coming off the midterm elections you could probably call out many differences between Democrats and Republicans — both in their basic political stances and the overall typical personalities of people from each party. But new research from Tel Aviv University and the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya proves that the left and right truly operate differently when it comes to decision making.A November 2014 study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reveals that when it comes to changing political views, liberals are more driven by their emotions than conservatives.Researchers conducted six different studies to gain some insights into the interaction between emotion and political ideology. Each study was related to current events in Israel and specifically politics surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some discussions were based around real situations and developments, such as peace negotiations, and others were contrived scenarios. Two of the studies were done to ensure the findings were not population-dependent or skewed by attitude strength as opposed to strict adherence to one’s ideology.Through the six different studies, here’s what they found:
- Induced empathy has a greater influence on leftists’ positions than rightists’.
- Induced negative emotions led to changes in policy support only for leftists.
- Induced empathy toward both Palestinians and asylum-seekers led to increased support for conciliatory and humanitarian policies among leftists.
- Induced despair decreased support for conciliatory policies only among leftists.
- Jewish-Israeli leftists’ policy support was more related to both empathy and anger than rightists’, at times of both peace efforts and war.
Lead researcher Ruthie Pliskin and her team note that, although it requires more research to control for cultural factors, these results may be applicable in many other political landscapes. “We would expect to find similar results among rightists and leftists in other cultures, including conservatives and liberals in the U.S.,” Pliskin notes, “because of the cross-cultural similarities in the superstructure of ideology and the needs associated with rightist versus leftist ideology—and because of how these factors relate to emotional processes and their outcomes.”Related Articles: What Your Newsfeed Reveals About Your Friends’ Personality TraitsQUIZ: What’s Your Personality Type?