Greater Disgust Response Associated With Political
John Alford and John Hibbing, noted researchers on the biological basis of political orientation, have joined with a few other researchers in a Plos One report on evidence that rightward leaning people appear to have a stronger disgust reflex.
Disgust has been described as the most primitive and central of emotions. Thus, it is not surprising that it shapes behaviors in a
variety of organisms and in a variety of contexts—including homo sapien politics. People who believe they would be bothered by a range of hypothetical disgusting situations display an increased likelihood of displaying right-of-center rather than left-of-center political orientations. Given its primal nature and essential value in avoiding pathogens disgust likely has an effect even without registering in conscious beliefs. In this article, we demonstrate that individuals with marked involuntary physiological responses to disgusting images, such as of a man eating a large mouthful of writhing worms, are more likely to self-identify as conservative and, especially, to oppose gay marriage than are individuals with more muted physiological responses to the same images. This relationship holds even when controlling for the degree to which respondents believe themselves to be disgust sensitive and suggests that people’s physiological predispositions help to shape their political orientations.
The report has an intro with a pretty interesting survey of what is known about the biological basis for political orientation. Here’s an excerpt:
The role of disgust in the avoidance of disease, one of the primary sources of mortality over the centuries, makes it essential to survival .
Numerous connections between disgust responses and social behavior have been identified –.
On the basis of numerous large N surveys, Haidt reports that people on the left make judgments primarily on the basis of two “moral foundations:” harm avoidance and a desire for fairness/equity. People on the political right, on the other hand, display similar attention to harm avoidance and fairness but demonstrate additional concerns for purity, in-group/loyalty, and authority/structure. Interestingly, these differences in moral foundations hold up across cultures ,
a finding consistent with the work of Schwartz on cross-cultural similarity in the relationship between political orientations and
patterns of values as well as work on the relationship between political orientations and personality traits across cultures –.
This nuanced view of differentially weighted decision considerations is the basis for expecting people on the right to be more likely to emphasize purity/disgust as a foundation for moral and political orientations.
I’ll post the research about genes linked to high libido and risk taking and their distribution here shortly.
I’ve been speculating that some men are genetically pre-programmed to prefer a cad lifestyle, where they can bond with women who have a sexual past, in serial and parallel monogamy. Romantic libertines have been studied to be preferentially chosen for sex and even for bonding over purely family oriented men with low socio-sexuality score who strongly prefer lifetime monogamy.
The sexy son hypothesis is not merely about the dark triad traits. Women also preferentially have sex with men who have genes that code for high libido and low disgust – and especially the combination, which allows for a high socio-sexual score along with romantic inclinations. The madonna/whore complex is either absent or less compelling in such men. As romantic bonding with a woman with a sexual past and a desire for novelty and a high libido leads to a greater likelihood for serial monogamy over lifetime monogamy, and as serial monogamy leads to greater number of children for men (but not women) than does lifetime monogamy, women who feel secure in their provisioning and economic stability may choose men disposed to serial monogamy and caddish behavior, as their male children would be more likely to father a greater number of children, thus furthering also the mothers genes.
I’ve also speculated that those with the low socio-sexual score and the purity gene tend to be pussy pedestalizing beta providers.
What do you think?