On Moral Values, Liberals More Prone to Stereotype Than Conservatives
Those conservatives are appalling: They couldn’t care less if people get hurt. And liberals? They think anything goes, and have no concept of the meaning of loyalty.
Caricatures? Absolutely. But such stereotypes are widely held among Americans, newly published research confirms, with liberals particularly clueless about the concerns of conservatives.
Regarding issues of morality, “people overestimate how dramatically liberals and conservatives differ,” psychologists Jesse Graham, Brian Nosek and Jonathan Haidt write in the online journal PLoS One. Specifically, their research suggests those on the left unfairly assume their counterparts on the right are cold-hearted on issues involving harm and fairness.
“There are real moral differences between liberals and conservatives,” the researchers write, “but people across the political spectrum exaggerate the magnitude of these differences, and in so doing create opposing moral stereotypes that are shared by all.”
The research provides the latest insights derived from Haidt’s framework of moral attitudes. He has identified five distinct moral realms: harm/care, fairness, in-group loyalty, deference to authority, and purity/sanctity. The first two promote individual freedom and self-expression, and are beloved by liberals; the final three bind societies together, and are close to the hearts of social conservatives.