"If you want to tell whether someone is conservative or liberal, what are a couple of completely nonpolitical questions that will give a good clue?"
"How’s this: Would you be willing to slap your father in the face, with his permission, as part of a comedy skit?"
"And, second: Does it disgust you to touch the faucet in a public restroom?"
"Studies suggest that conservatives are more often distressed by actions that seem disrespectful of authority, such as slapping Dad. Liberals don’t worry as long as Dad has given permission."
"Likewise, conservatives are more likely than liberals to sense contamination or perceive disgust. People who would be disgusted to find that they had accidentally sipped from an acquaintance’s drink are more likely to identify as conservatives."
"The upshot is that liberals and conservatives don’t just think differently, they also feel differently. This may even be a result, in part, of divergent neural responses."
"The larger point is that liberals and conservatives often form judgments through flash intuitions that aren’t a result of a deliberative process. The crucial part of the brain for these judgments is the medial prefrontal cortex, which has more to do with moralizing than with rationality. If you damage your prefrontal cortex, your I.Q. may be unaffected, but you’ll have trouble harrumphing."
You can read Nicholas Kristof's entire editorial, "Would You Slap Your Father? If So, You're a Liberal," here.
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Cross-Posted at RedBlueChristian