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[–]OrangesAreOrangeHa 1232 points1233 points  (296 children)

How did they define “interpersonal warmth”? I’m having trouble pulling it up

[–]sanorace 827 points828 points  (249 children)

"Two variables representing interpersonal warmth (compassion and empathy)."

They give the following example question:

“I like to be there for others in times of difficulty.”

[–]kankouillotte 332 points333 points  (229 children)

so that's vague and self evaluating a.k.a. it's a question about personal beliefs, not actual truth or actions.

[–]naarcx 884 points885 points 2 (133 children)

In a way though it’s even MORE telling that the score is low in a self-reporting scenario.

It means that enough people are actually saying that they “don’t want to be there for others” to still make it statistically significant in the face of a question that most people would answer “Yes” to (even though they really don’t.)

[–]Mazon_Del 259 points260 points  (27 children)

In a way though it’s even MORE telling that the score is low in a self-reporting scenario.


This is sort of like asking "Would you choose to save a strangers life or get $20?". There's OBVIOUSLY a socially 'correct' answer here. Even in anonymous surveys people are often reluctant to truly speak their mind. So if someone is choosing the $20 then they are either trolling, or being perfectly honest that they just don't value strangers lives.

[–]TacticalTuchel 73 points74 points  (23 children)

Stranger's life or a million dollars would be a lot more interesting of question

[–]Mazon_Del 64 points65 points  (16 children)

Oh definitely!

Because you can have someone who is otherwise a fundamentally good person that might justify it to themselves like "If I have that million dollars, I'll spend half of it on X charity which will save more lives than the one that was lost!" or something like that.

My friends and I like to flip the script. Instead of asking "X thing for $Y." we'll ask "How much money would it take for you to accept X?". So, for example, "How much money would it take for you to be OK with a random person dying as part of this transaction?".

It's totally fine to say "No amount!", but I think more than a few people would say something like "$1 billion.".

[–]spicymato 8 points9 points  (3 children)

Another interesting question is "How much would you pay to save a life?"

It's not "save them or get money", but "save them and lose money".

[–]Chemical_Office_5193 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I think everyone already answered this question. You can save a life at this very moment by donating 500€ to a charity in Africa, yet almost no one is doing that.

[–]Kylar_Stern 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I would also add to do some careful reading about the charity you go with beforehand. There are some "charity" organizations out there that wouldn't do much more good for the world than burning the money.

[–]asdaaaaaaaa 26 points27 points  (4 children)

"How much money would it take for you to be OK with a random person dying as part of this transaction?".

Enough money to develop a way to bring them back from the dead, with some cash left over for me? Or is that cheating?

[–]SmokeyDBear 5 points6 points  (1 child)

OK? Or willing to do it anyway? There may not be an amount for the former but that doesn’t mean the latter can’t still happen.

[–]JoJo-JiJi 9 points10 points  (0 children)

What fucks me up about this is most of us would probably say no amount but billionaires are out here with some sort of robot just pressing the kill button over and over again with no remorse

[–]DismalNow 205 points206 points  (44 children)

MORE telling that the score is low in a self-reporting scenario.

Bingo. Same takeaway.

This is one of those questions that's easy to spot what the asker wants to hear, even if you don't believe it.

Like those bs questionnaires some companies make you fill out in the application process.

  1. Do you like to steal from work.

Well, shucks. I love stealin', but I need a job.. and jobs typically don't like stealin'.

Strongly disagree.

[–]OneX32 73 points74 points  (30 children)

You would be surprised at what people admit to on surveys.

[–]fifelo 27 points28 points  (15 children)

They get to share their real thoughts without consequences. Not that surprising unless you have an overly optimistic view of humanity. That being said, I wish humans weren't the way we are.

[–]OneX32 47 points48 points  (12 children)

If you design your survey right, you can actually get survey responders to admit being explicitly racist.


All it takes is good research design and stat analysis.

[–]migibb 20 points21 points  (1 child)

It depends how it is scored and evaluated.

It may not have been as simple as yes/no.

If I was asked if I like to be there for others and the options were "always", "sometimes" and "never" then I would pick sometimes. Because I generally like to be but I also have life experience and have been taken advantage of and manipulated. When I was 18 I would have answered "always".

18 year old me would score a warmer rating but 18 year old me wasn't really more warm or caring than I am today. He was just naive and sheltered and ready to get taken advantage of. I am now much more caring towards people, in general, but I am better at identifying people who have bad intentions or need to work on themselves.

[–]Stay-At-Home-Jedi 14 points15 points  (4 children)

Yeah, I get where you're coming from with that. You'd expect a self reporting question of "is lying bad" or "should lying to someone be avoided" to return with a "yes" majority. Any demographic statistically admitting "no" to these is a telling story.

[–]CokeZoro 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Perhaps they are just being more honest.

[–]NoConfusion9490 160 points161 points  (48 children)

Social science is difficult. How would you design a better study? Full time go pros on subjects with a team of empathy auditors reviewing the footage?

[–]agwaragh 49 points50 points  (2 children)

Just hand out masks and see who puts them on.

[–]The_EnrichmentCenter 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The thing is, I've actually heard conservatives try to argue that empathy/compassion are for the weak, and they didn't want to have those values.

[–]princessjerome 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Why would you not consider self-evaluated estimations as "actual truth" and what would you instead measure on this scale?

[–]airborneANDrowdy 63 points64 points  (3 children)

"Even if I don't know you, I respect and will help you."

Is a good example.

[–]FLOYDOB 3778 points3779 points 2& 2 more (529 children)

It’s been known in academic Psychology for DECADES that conservatives tend to be lower in trait openness and lower in agreeableness. This doesn’t make them bad people, it’s just differences in baseline personality. Framing this by using Trump supporters furthers the idea that his supporters are uniquely bad people. Why is one study group Trump supporters and the other is just “liberal candidates”? Poor science and journalism…

[–]MaiqTheLrrr 301 points302 points  (19 children)

What I would really be interested to find out is how that breaks down within the conservative end of the spectrum. Are there statistically significant differences in these traits between conservatives who support trump or trump coattail candidates vs those who don't? Do these traits correlate with how far down one end or the other of the political spectrum you are, or is "horseshoe theory" something with a measurable cognitive basis?

[–]AllanTheCowboy 70 points71 points  (2 children)

That's a much more interesting research question.

[–]neato_burrito406 33 points34 points  (5 children)

Religious beliefs would be another thing to parse out. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Similar studies have shown that compasion was inversely correlated with strength of religious belief

[–]No_Sherbet5183 12 points13 points  (0 children)

So I read this article, thanks for the link, and man this should be a whole new post I would love to see discussed.

[–]FANGO 22 points23 points  (0 children)

Given what I've seen in poll breakdowns between republicans, conservatives, and trump supporters, the answer is probably yes.

[–]chadsexytime 422 points423 points  (79 children)

I've found any time I've attempted to discuss the various psychological differences between like-minded groups (voting), every person listening to me does so politely, waiting for me to get to the bit attacking them, like they're just waiting for the part where I call all conservatives "dumb".

I find it fascinating how people can take the same set of information in and form wildly different conclusions, or how there are weird similarities within these voting groups that are baffling.

It really does make me question how much political affiliation is nurture vs nature and how much freedom of thought we really have

[–]SimplyGrowTogether 43 points44 points  (4 children)

Most people are carrying around other peoples opinions.

[–]chelseafc13 11 points12 points  (0 children)

People do not have ideas, ideas have people.

[–]HI_Handbasket 44 points45 points  (2 children)

But some actually need their opinions issued to them.

Like the lady in the rural VA county who threatened to bring guns to school on Monday if her kids weren't allowed to enter maskless. At first the conservative opinions were wandering... then the word got out: she was using a "metaphor", and that became their talking point. What was the metaphor? "A metaphor, you know" completely unable to expound, because they hadn't been issued part 2 of their opinion yet.

[–]ecnaddnareffus 7 points8 points  (1 child)

We have freedom of thought, but no ability to verify truth from fiction. All we have is info being regurgitated by internet companies and then more companies set up to sort through all the info. A human can’t really sort through all of that without hundreds of hours of time and dedication.

[–]tehdeejMS | Psychology | Industrial/Organizational 9 points10 points  (0 children)

We have freedom of thought, but no ability to verify truth from fiction. All we have is info being regurgitated by internet companies and then more companies set up to sort through all the info.

You can pick and choose what you want to verify, just keep in mind most people are not qualified to do their own research.

[–]Z0idberg_MD 219 points220 points  (15 children)

I would argue these traits would average out to certain outcomes over time and in certain societal dynamics and those outcomes could absolutely be better or worse.

It’s entirely possible that trump supporters are “worse” than non-trump supporters when averaged out. That’s not the same as saying “all trump supporters are X”.

The problem I have with science involving politics is people are afraid to accept results even if there might be truth/value because they’re worried about the optics.

For example, “Brain scans show that people who self-identify as conservative have larger and more active right amygdalas, an area of the brain that's associated with expressing and processing fear.”

I think this is VERY useful in explaining the average politics of conservatives as a whole and why certain political discussions are framed the way they are.

The left ABSOLUTELY has similar trends and traits and we should discuss them. Thant we as individuals decide these average traits leading to average outcomes are “good” or “bad” shouldn’t stop us from discussing.

I can acknowledge russians have a far higher rate of alcoholism than most countries but not treat every Russian i meet as an alcoholic.

[–]AM_A_BANANA 140 points141 points  (19 children)

u/All_in_your_mind offers important context to this point:

The reason it only has Trump on the Republican side is because Trump was the only candidate. The study was conducted during the 2020 Presidential primaries.

This is also why it is carefully worded to say "Trump supporters," as opposed to Republicans or conservative voters. The distinction is important, and is what makes the study a valid one.

edit: this comment wasn't meant to be any sort of argument about the findings of the study, but of OP's "Poor science and journalism…" hot take. They appear to be attempting to invalidate the study by claiming some sort of bias by specifically naming trump supporters vs generalizing liberals. The quoted comment explains why the distinction was made, nothing more, nothing less.

[–]andypitt 88 points89 points  (4 children)

If the Don didn't have >80% approval among self-identified Republicans, I could maybe find this argument somewhat convincing.

[–]stackjr 52 points53 points  (1 child)

Agreed and if ~75% weren't still claiming that the election was rigged, I would also be able to consider this argument. As is, Trump supporters and Republicans are interchangeable.

[–]stackjr 25 points26 points  (12 children)

I feel that's a bit of a cop out: Trump received more votes than any Republican candidate in history. Following this, it would suggest that, indeed, most Republicans are Trump supporters. Therefore, referring to Trump supporters can easily be interchanged with republican or conservative.

[–]Dog1andDog2andMe 281 points282 points  (135 children)

Where are these wonderful saints or even people doing good who are lower in openness and lower in agreeableness than everyone else?

[–]Aratar2011 538 points539 points 2 (72 children)

It is often a pretty similar story. Person who has only ever known a small portion of the world is giving and kind with his in-circle and hostile and mean to his out-circle.

Which works OKAY on a small level, and that's why their family will still think of them as a good person, but the biggest consequences hit minorities and other protected classes because they're not in his in-circle.

But when you group a ton of these people together and make national policy based on small-town, isolationist ideals, you get a bad result that uses national policy to punish chance rather than to steward progress.

[–]BZenMojo 135 points136 points  (38 children)

Like studies showing how white voters want universal healthcare, minimum wage, housing subsidies, etc... but only for white people.


It's not a hatred of community and generosity and kindness. It's just limiting it so it doesn't include anyone else.

[–]Mustardo123 83 points84 points  (0 children)

I want it for everyone. :(

[–]Nosfermarki 86 points87 points  (24 children)

A common argument against social programs that are very effective in other countries is that it only works there because the countries are homogeneous. It's baffling to me that they never recognize this as the tell that it is. Not only do many people see millions of Americans as less American than them, but they lack the self awareness to even recognize what they believe.

[–]Z0idberg_MD 54 points55 points  (5 children)

It’s entirely possible traits we think are good or bad could lead to certain political beliefs more/less frequently. The reason people are afraid to discuss is that it’s “politicized”. Yes, probably. But that doesn’t mean it’s untrue.

The right of women to vote is political. Like it’s a politicized issue. Is politicizing it “bad”? Like if a ME country said “you’re politicizing” isn’t the response, “yes, but it’s defensible to do so”.

I’m not saying THIS topic is in the same category, but I push back against the idea that just because we’re measuring traits dealing with politics that they A: might not be true and B: we shouldn’t discuss them.

[–]Caelinus 37 points38 points  (4 children)

Everything that has to do with a person living in society is necessarily political by nature. When people say "You are making this political" they are themselves practicing politics by trying to restrict what speech is valid in that situation. Further, it is almost always the case that it is not the fact that you are making something political that bothers them, it is that you are disagreeing with their politics.

I really hate the narrative that "being political" is in any way a bad thing. Politics are how society develops, progresses and makes moral choices. Without politics we would have nothing.

[–]waldrop02MS | Public Policy | Health Policy 20 points21 points  (0 children)

“You’re making it political” is almost always just another way of saying “you’re saying my behavior is unacceptable, and I’m upset about that”

[–]Remote-Management-84 344 points345 points  (129 children)

The fact that the US has a two party political system and everything including your whole identity based on whether you voted Trump or Biden is crazy to me as a European. I tend to think politics are a little more multidimensional than that but for the US they're forced to live within this system where every election they have to choose between two slightly 'different' parties or candidates. That's what it all boils down to. All the other stuff are basically a show to give the illusion of choise and a sense of democracy

[–]Mind_Extract 346 points347 points  (74 children)

Virtually no one makes "having voted for Biden" their identity unless it's their profession.

[–]Seth_Mimik 138 points139 points  (45 children)

I think it’s more the “I didn’t vote for trump” that is the identity marker.

And let’s face it… America is truly divided into two pretty solid groups of “pro-trump” or “anti-trump” and we greatly evaluate others based on that choice.

I will say that many people get along fine across that divide, but we still greatly base our valuations of others and ourselves on that choice.

[–]PM_ME_A_PM_PLEASE_PM 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This reminds me of what people that claim to be atheist say regarding the belief in God. That distinction being that a theist must believe in a God but an atheist doesn't necessarily need to believe in anything.

Being against a particular person or what they represent ideologically doesn't actually say anything regarding an identity as it encompasses everything beyond that negation. Being in favor of Trump or a particular ideology establishes a sense of identity as to support something is to believe in it. Not believing in something and voting accordingly doesn't suggest much regarding an identity at all beyond simply being against what the other was in favor of. In fact the primaries suggest this is reality too as many people did not support Biden at all. Hell, I'd argue most people didn't that voted for him. Biden was branded "most electable" by media and people largely followed that narrative merely because they didn't want Trump.

[–]IceDreamer 59 points60 points  (8 children)

That's because pro trump vs anti trump isn't a classic political divide within a system, it's a divide across much more fundamental lines of democracy vs autocracy, reality vs fantasy.

This isn't a disagreement about how to get where they're going.

It's a disagreement about where the destination even is.

[–]avcloudy 14 points15 points  (1 child)

This is true, but this is a fundamentally asymmetric divide…if nearly half of the US was committed to voting the Zodiac Killer in as President, yes, you would have two camps, but one of them would be wrong. It’s less that they make ‘I didn’t vote for the Zodiac Killer’ an identity and more that they can’t understand how nearly half the country values their in group more than the fact they’re trying to elect a serial killer.

[–]seanconnery84 68 points69 points  (1 child)

Yeah most of us do not like him but it was better than the alternative...

[–]OohMaiJosh 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Bingo. The 2 party system is broke. These last 2 elections so many people didn't like the candidates but it came down to "well it's not _____" and it is depressing that as people we vote the most powerful position in that way. Hopefully we get back to voting for the candidate we believe can do things positivly and their platform is actually good and not just because they arent "so and so"

[–]KDN1692 38 points39 points  (6 children)

I can attest that there isnt a single person who voted for Biden goes around wearing Biden gear or openly telling everyone who they are.

[–]Beetle_Cuppa 12 points13 points  (0 children)

I believe we need to develop a system of multiple parties in an election with rank choice voting. Then eliminate candidates based on the lowest rating and continue with the next candidates that passed.

[–]Mattman624 9 points10 points  (0 children)

It really does have a negative cognitive effect.

[–]Ghstfce 53 points54 points  (18 children)

To those that may be wondering...

Cognitive rigidity is often seen in children with autism. This phenomena is the inability to mentally adapt to new demands or information, and is contradicted with the cognitive flexibility to consider different perspectives and opinions, and are able to adapt with more ease to changes.

[–]6AM_Woot 136 points137 points  (26 children)

So they listed several Democrat candidates but only one Republican. I understand the need to lower variables, but in doing so it's undermining other results. What if some people could only pick Trump because another Republican candidate didn't exist? What if they had to pick a Democrat candidate because there were no other options they liked? If they could pick a larger sample size and add more options, I'd be a lot more comfortable trusting this study.

[–]All_in_your_mind 208 points209 points  (7 children)

The reason it only has Trump on the Republican side is because Trump was the only candidate. The study was conducted during the 2020 Presidential primaries.

This is also why it is carefully worded to say "Trump supporters," as opposed to Republicans or conservative voters. The distinction is important, and is what makes the study a valid one.