Members in the Media
From: Statesman

Cook: The importance of trusting your instincts


Are humans liberal or conservative by nature?

Scientists have started to provide provocative answers by looking at the roots of morality. Influential psychologist Jonathan Haidt surveyed the world’s cultures and suggested that virtually everyone is born with an innate propensity for five broad moral instincts: fairness, not harming others, loyalty to one’s group, respecting authority and purity.

And in psychological experiments, conservatives value all five of the instincts, yet liberals tend to put far more weight on the first two — fairness and not doing harm — while discounting the other three.

It is easy to see how those play out in our political life. For conservatives, loyalty to a group easily translates into a suspicion of outsiders and, therefore, say, a discomfort with immigration. If respecting authority is a central moral value, then burning a flag is deeply offensive. Liberals want to talk about what is fair, and whether anyone is being hurt, while conservatives respond that liberals are missing the point.

Read the whole story: Statesman

More of our Members in the Media >

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.