And every inference they had said the study made about conservatives – – was actually meant to be about liberals.
As it turns out, a 2012 study published in the American Journal of Political Science actually found the opposite of what was initially claimed. It was not conservatives, but liberals who proved to be “more uncooperative, manipulative, hostile, troublesome, and socially withdrawn.”
According to the National Review, Media Research Center, LifeSite news, CatholicNewsLive, RetractionWatch.com, and several other outlets, the three professors at Virginia Commonwealth University messed up the numbers and have now retracted (kind of) their findings from their report, “Correlation Not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies.
In 2012, the professors had analyzed a survey of 5,748 pairs of twins and their relatives to see if personality and political views began in early childhood.
Although they had titled the paper “Correlation Not Causation,” the mainstream media took off on all the negative points made concerning “those with conservative principles.” And of course – those with liberal principles took off on the idea that conservatives are psychotic.
The study both “presumed and then ‘found’ that political and social conservatism comes from ‘psychoticism,’ ‘dogmatism,’ ‘intolerance of ambiguity,’ the ‘fear of threat or loss,’ and, ‘serves as a coping mechanism that allows people to manage these threats.'” Now – the study’s authors admit they “accidentally reversed the results.”
According to LifeSiteNews – “Dan Gainor, Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture [said] ‘I’m sure built-in assumptions about what conservatives are really like had nothing to do with this awful analysis.’ and ‘Now, will every media outlet that ran this garbage social science run a story about it giving this correction the same level of attention? Of course not.'”
While most mainstream publications ignored the retraction, the Chicago Tribune admitted it happened, but focused on just one of the labels originally attributed to conservatives – “Psychoticism” – and explained that ‘no one actually said conservatives were psychotic,’ and therefore, liberals aren’t either.
The Tribune article ignores everything else wrongly attributed to conservatives – such as “dogmatism,” “intolerance of ambiguity,” the “fear of threat or loss,” and that those with conservative principles “are more uncooperative, hostile, troublesome, and socially withdrawn,” as well as less conscientious, less agreeable, and more “manipulative.”
The authors of the study had been quoted four years ago saying, “We expect higher P (Psychoticism) scores to be related to more conservative political attitudes, particularly for militarism and social conservatism” but in the Tribune article, they say that was never the case.
Yup – the Tribune left all that baggage out of the article and downplayed the admission by the study authors that they expected conservatives to be all of the horrid things the study claimed them to be.
Now they claim that the study proves nothing…