Sep 18, 2008 | 45
Here's a fun trick: scare someone you don't know, then guess whether they favor the death penalty and the war in Iraq based on how freaked out they got.
People with stronger startle reactions are more likely to support ideologies associated with conservative American politics, including the Patriot Act, obedience and biblical truth — and less likely to favor gun control, foreign aid, abortion rights, gay marriage and pornography, according to research published in today's Science. Those who are slower to scare are more likely to harbor traditionally liberal politics.
The findings build on previous research showing that experiencing trauma can skew one's politics to the right.
But what comes first: biology or politics? "It could be working either way," says study author John Alford, an associate professor of political science at Rice University.
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