Academics Accidentally Discover Link Between the Left and Authoritarianism

by on 11 June, 2016

Cody Findlay, economics and finance student at Macquarie University discusses one of the greatest blunders in recent research academia, accidentally revealing something true.

Three taxpayer funded academics released a study in 2013 called “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” which found a link between conservatives and psychoticism. This obviously made the rounds through social media providing more conformation about conservatives being genetically predisposed to their archaic views and being cited at an extremely high rate. A higher psychoticism score or P score showed higher personality traits that are associated with being aggressive and having higher hostility among peers.

To their results: “ First, in line with our expectations, higher P scores correlate with more conservative military attitudes and more socially conservative beliefs for both females and males.”
What’s better than the results is the objective stance taken before getting their results “in line with our expectations” HA!

In the same paper the academics found a relationship between neuroticism and people who are socially liberal. Neuroticism is personality trait characterised by anxiety, envy, jealousy and has a higher prevalence in people who feel guilt, envy and anxiety more. This makes sense doesn’t it? Conservatives are against policies like the minimum wages, penalty rates and such, it’s obvious they are emotionless.

The final interesting result the researchers ‘found’ was the relationship between social desirability and social ideology. Social desirability is where someone would answer a question in the way that would present themselves in a desirable light. This link was consistent with previous studies and shows that there was a substantive relationship between social desirability and social liberalism.

They concluded: conservatives are less socially desirable, more authoritarian and more psychotic than their socially liberal counterparts.


Our tax payer funded research: accidentally finding the link between the left and a love for authority

In one of the biggest failures of all time they got the whole relationship reversed.

Thus, where we indicated that higher scores in Table 1 (page 40) reflect a more conservative response, they actually reflect a more liberal response. Specifically, in the original manuscript, the descriptive analyses report that those higher in Eysenck’s psychoticism are more conservative, but they are actually more liberal; and where the original manuscript reports those higher in neuroticism and social desirability are more liberal, they are, in fact, more conservative.”


I don’t even know how you can even fail this much. The authors said the main aim of the study was to show that there was a socio-political relationship, not to find the direction that relationship went. This doesn’t make sense given the extent to which the paper was used to justify a causal relationship between conservatism and authoritarianism. The academics even had the to conclude that the high causal relationship with psychoticism and specifically conservative views were “in line with our expectations.”

Given the undisputed link between the left, authoritarianism and their incompetent taxpayer funded research, I guess this error has fallen in line with my expectations as well.

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