How likely are you to be a conservative? It may depend on how easily you scare.
Subjects were tested for political opinions, and categorised as liberal or conservative.
The participants were then given two laboratory tests, to establish their physiological responses to frightening or unexpected stimuli. In the first test, they viewed 33 images, three of which were distressing or threatening: a large spider on the face of a frightened person; a dazed person with a bloody face; and maggots in an open wound. The scientists measured the electrical conductance of the skin, a standard measure of distress and arousal.
In the second test, the volunteers were subjected to a loud, unexpected noise, with scientists measuring the involuntary blinking that followed. A strong startle response is indicative of heightened fear and arousal.
No points for guessing which group contained the bigger scaredy cats.
Those with “markedly lower physical sensitivity to sudden noises and threatening visual images” tended to support liberal positions, while those with strong responses tended to be more conservative.
Acting conservatively is an appropriate response to uncertain and risky situations. Conservatives know this, and therefore try to emphasise the scary side of our world. As a result, modern conservatism is a laundry list of over-stated grievances and fears intended to exploit feelings of resentment and victimhood. They’re coming for your job. Your guns. Your women. Taxes, children, bible, flag. Conservatives, then, are the ones who respond most to this fear-mongering and paranoia.