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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 06:49PM

Apparently conservatives have a “need for cognitive closure.”

"This describes discomfort with uncertainty and a desire to resolve it into a firm belief. Someone with a high need for closure tends to seize on a piece of information that dispels doubt or ambiguity, and then freeze, refusing to consider new information."

Not that everybody on RfM is liberal. I've already learned that. But there are very few liberals indeed in among Mormons, and this may well be why. It would also explain the black-and-white thinking that so many Mormons cling to.

The WaPost article is at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/liberals-and-conservatives-dont-just-vote-differently-they-think-differently/2012/04/12/gIQAzb1kDT_story_1.html

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Posted by: rosemary ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 07:02PM

I know just as many liberals as conservatives who live in a world of black-and-white thinking, and are equally closed-minded. It really boils down to the fact that more people are stupid than smart, and more people are likely to make decisions based on emotion than on reason.

I live in one of the most liberal areas of the nation and I know far more liberals than conservatives. Therefore, I know more idiot liberals than idiot conservatives, because that is simply how the human population breaks down.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 07:22PM

Rosemary, any citations like Cludgie provided or is your opinion just based on anecdotal evidence?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2012 07:29PM by thingsithink.

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Posted by: forbiddencokedrinker ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 10:37AM

I'll give you a statistic you can believe in. Half of everyone you will ever meet, has a below average IQ. Half of anyone in a given area has a IQ below the average of that area. Half of anyone of any group has a IQ below the average of that group.

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Posted by: Happy_Heretic ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 11:03AM

forbiddencokedrinker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
. Half of anyone of any group has a IQ below the average of that
> group.


I attended a Mensa meeting once. This is simply untrue.
Please remember the first rule of social statistics: "the more specific the statistic, the more general the lie."

HH

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Posted by: smorg ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 01:11PM

How is this untrue? He specified that the 'average IQ' as being of 'that group'. Just because those Mensa folks who fall in the lower half of their own group are still smarter than just about any body else out there doesn't negate the premise.

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Posted by: No Mo ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 12:58PM

forbiddencokedrinker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
Half of anyone in a given area has a
> IQ below the average of that area. Half of anyone
> of any group has a IQ below the average of that
> group.


I believe that you are referring to the median IQ and not the average (or mean) IQ. There is a difference.

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Posted by: schmendrick ( )
Date: April 16, 2012 04:18AM

> I believe that you are referring to the median IQ
> and not the average (or mean) IQ. There is a
> difference.

"Average" does not mean "mean." Median, mode, and mean are all "averages."

Forbiddencoke wins by virtue of linguistic ambiguity. He should be an apologist!

...or maybe I should.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 07:24PM

I agree about everything but the black-and-white part. Never seen a liberal think only in digital, on/off terms like that. You know, church good, gays bad. It's purely anecdotal on my part, but to me what always made a liberal a liberal was the ability to accept shades-of-gray thinking. Like, "I don't understand homosexuality, but who's to say it's any less normal that heterosexuality?" When I talk like that around my sternly conservative friends and relatives, they go instantly berzerk because in their minds everything is laid out just so, in a way that there is no room for argument or mitigation.

Liberals also tend to believe that it just doesn't matter. Conservatives tend to believe that it does matter. And "it" means practically anything.

And I wasn't insinuating that conservatives are idiots. You may be putting words into your head.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 07:29PM

I think you're right. But, if a liberal is an idiot, because she can see shades of grey, she has a chance to change. A conservative idiot who doesn't see shades of grey is less likely to change. Thus, over time, more conservatives tend to be idiots as they can't evolve.

As I like to say, conservatives don't believe in evolution because they haven't done it yet.

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Posted by: matt ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 07:19AM

thingsithink Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think you're right. But, if a liberal is an
> idiot, because she can see shades of grey, she has
> a chance to change. A conservative idiot who
> doesn't see shades of grey is less likely to
> change. Thus, over time, more conservatives tend
> to be idiots as they can't evolve.
>
> As I like to say, conservatives don't believe in
> evolution because they haven't done it yet.

No. Doesn't work like that. An idiot is an idiot, and you can't change that.

For years I have always believed this: "You can take a stupid person and give them and education. But the only result will be a stupid person, with an education."

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 12:28PM

I'd suggest some people on this board would admit to having been an idiot in their prior Mormon existence.

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Posted by: what ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 12:36PM

believe in evolution?

hogwash

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Posted by: rosemary ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 07:42PM

No citations, just my personal experience from living in a total political bubble. Here, conservatives are often demonized just like many conservatives themselves demonize gays/feminists/whatever. To many liberals, simply finding out that someone goes to church is grounds for an automatic write off. I have experienced some people finding out that I'm libertarian and become instantly angry, even when I haven't said anything at all about specific politics!

My personal opinion is that black/white thinking indicates a lack of certain types of intelligence. Such thinking is commonly considered a bad thing, and this is therefore an oblique insult. (It's kind of like saying "I didn't call you stupid, you just obviously don't know anything about anything and can barely function in this complicated world of ours.")

I'm not claiming anything other than my opinions, here, but I am incredibly tired of constant liberal self-congratulations and dismissive attitudes toward conservatives.

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Posted by: xyz ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 11:05PM

...a Republican who openly likes his/her out-of-the-closet gay friends?

:-)

Please get real when talking about politics, which is generally verboten here anyways: American conservatives are equally as smug and self-congratulatory and dismissive of others as American liberals are. Do you really think you're blazing new territory with that? The whole country is shifting Right and you're all a pack of blazing idiots for it.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 11:52PM

Aside from economic policy, I thought libertarians lined up with liberals more than conservatives.

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Posted by: archaeologymatters ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 12:25AM

Sort of, but a real libertarian isn't directly in line with a conservative or a liberal.

A true libertarian would be for abortion rights for example, but wouldn't want his/her tax dollars to pay for it. A true libertarian would be tolerant of gays, but wouldn't want gay marriage because they wouldn't want straight marriage either. Sure they would support 2 people getting together and having a ceremony and calling themselves married, but they would not want the government involved. Same with economic philosophy. Many identify libertarians with sharing conservative economic policy, but if you look at what true libertarians have proposed compared to what conservatives have proposed, it is different. Ron Paul's economic policy is going to be different than Mitt Romney's policy.

Libertarianism might have some similarities with liberals and conservatives, but it is a completely separate philosophy.

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Posted by: rosemary ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 01:02AM

All of this sounds exactly on the mark. Therefore, the knee-jerk reactions I encounter are appalling (and typical).

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Posted by: Ragnar ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 10:34AM

Mitt Romney's economic policy is going to be different than Mitt Romney's economic policy...

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 02:38AM

Maybe instead of telling liberals what your label is, you should say things like, I support gay rights (I don't discriminate against gays), I'm open to decriminalizing drugs, I don't care if an elected official goes to church or is an atheist, etc.

I don't think you'd get that knee jerk reaction from most liberals any more. It sounds like they misunderstand your position because they misunderstand what the label you give yourself means. You might, however, find you get a knee jerk reaction from another crowd.

I've always considered myself liberal, but I never meant it primarily in a political sense. My political identification is so far down the line in terms of how I define myself as to be mostly irrelevant to me. But my own experience is that conservatives seem more interested in having other people conform to their ideas of proper behavior and beliefs than most liberals.

The mormon population is a good example of that. They are largely conservative. They want other people to think and act like they do. It's not enough for them to do their own thing. They are compelled to impose it on others.

I could care less what you do with your life if you're not standing in my way. That's how most liberals that I am around feel. If libertarians ran the country, liberals like myself would be glad to go about our business without a social conservative trying to stick their nose up our rumps.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 04/15/2012 02:50AM by thingsithink.

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Posted by: rosemary ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 10:43AM

You can't possibly know how these situation have gone down, and I have a hard time understanding why your assumption is that I am at fault because no one could possibly be behaving the way I'm telling you people behave. Almost 100% of the time I'm using "well, I'm a libertarian, so I don't really see the issue either way." as a way to EXCUSE myself from a casual political debate. (I'm fascinated by politics, but I can't stand having debates in a light-hearted social situation.)

And I wouldn't lead with "I support gay rights" because A) it is often not the topic at hand, B) not the most important issue to me in the world and C) as I said, I'm usually trying to get out of a debate, be it about gays or not.

One thing I think we can mostly agree about: Mormons are usually the very worst group about trying to force their views on everyone. They're quite sickening with it.

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Posted by: Mark Brasher ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 03:45PM

rosemary Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You can't possibly know how these situation have
> gone down, and I have a hard time understanding
> why your assumption is that I am at fault because
> no one could possibly be behaving the way I'm
> telling you people behave. Almost 100% of the time
> I'm using "well, I'm a libertarian, so I don't
> really see the issue either way." as a way to
> EXCUSE myself from a casual political debate. (I'm
> fascinated by politics, but I can't stand having
> debates in a light-hearted social situation.)
>
> And I wouldn't lead with "I support gay rights"
> because A) it is often not the topic at hand, B)
> not the most important issue to me in the world
> and C) as I said, I'm usually trying to get out of
> a debate, be it about gays or not.

I can relate to your situation. I lived for a long time in a very liberal section of the U.S. I am liberal myself on many issues but take things issue by issue. That approach did not fly with many of the liberals around me. In a situation where they had a sizable majority, any alternative positions tended to get flamed and the speaker was vilified.

I am also not a fan of discussing controversial topics in social situations. Some of my colleagues LOVE to argue about every hot topic that comes along. I would rather leave most of those discussions out of the workplace. Not interested in debating with my colleagues on a non-stop basis.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 12:33PM

I believe you do get that response from some liberals. You wouldn't from me.

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Posted by: oddcouplet ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 07:06AM

From George Carlin: Think of the average person's level of intelligence. Half of the people are even dumber than that.

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Posted by: hello ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 01:56AM

"I'm liberal to a degree, I want everyone to be free."

Zimmie...

hello is, of necessity, an extreme libertarian. Not republican at all. Not democrat. Not liberal either.

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Posted by: delt1995 ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 04:26AM

Mormons are only republican because the social and personal conduct required, fits better on the right, and since LDS is a corporation, republican polices help them better.

One-hundred-seventy years ago the mormons would have been California hedonists with polygamy and polyandry. Joe Smith would have approved of male gay marriage, because there would be more women left for him.

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Posted by: larry john ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 06:09AM

In australia here, liberal is for the greedy and labour is for the needy. But liberal here means more so fuck the poor and lets help the middle class prosper especially small capitalistic business, sounds positive to hard working go getter treasure hunters but those a bit on the slow side, who love the forrests and inviromental conciousness, tho some extreme tie themselfs to trees to avoid cutting down, want to see hospitals get the money not some fucking bridge built, keep it bamboo and primative and give the money to medical, has been at times in the past the labour who cares. Tho labour goes into debt to help the needy while liberal would almost let ya starve than wast tax payers money to help any one.

Yet my upbringing candidate father Liberal, and labour sending this country broke has almost given him heart attack from discust and worry. But liberal australia has done nothing much to help me, save it be some cash in hand jobs as pro entertainer in private resort ownerships that now is taboo and I have to teach music now for a living rather than perform to keep stable income.....Private resort industry doging tax could pay cash in hand those days but not anymore..

So in someways the rules here make more honest, but it does nothing for the druggies and thieves still wanting to steal to support there habits and yet many free counciling and help out there today and the medical here not to bad except in govenment nursing homes is a bit poor while the liberals have fancy ones from superanuation investments with tenis courts etc...
\
We get what we pay for and invest in my father taught me.
But I cant stand to see genuine people especially foreign
migrants treated like @#$%&, while illegal boat people who make it to australia get all the benifits before any citizen australian and liberal govenment wants to stop the boat people..

thats enough politics......As far as america goes REpublic constitition was the liberty it was built on but in todays world
it seems outdated, but the principles if in god we trust, a god
that is against homosexuality and abortion etc is the true god then we are all going to hell for voting against that god he he.

america politics still seem fairer than australian.
Old bastards in the top house can sack or rid of the primeminister anytime and no one can get in from scratch voted from the gutter up.....Just like the military forces here,only the most educated get in who have the highest ique. In america they take anyone who wants to fight a war give america credit for that even tho sometimes its sucide missions and many australians would volenteer for it..

Larry...

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 06:54AM

This is without a doubt, one of the most shallow pieces of puff journalism on an extraordinarily important issue, and the only thing I see is a journalist who picks a few subjects for their "sex appeal" and then proceeds to pigeonhole them as if there is some larger bit of synthesis being offered when there is none.

The term "cloture" is poorly defined, and to attempt a generalization from such small component of available research is simply foolish.

If I could put this in what I see as a "historical context," I would suggest the foolishness is an outgrowth of the "Death of Freudianism"; under Freud, and even within the field of cognitive psychology that replaced it, cognitive styles were understood; the pragmatic psychoanalytic "images" of them weren't inaccurate, but the "science-in-psychology-crowd" differed on the elements within and the underlying forces that gave rise to the thought processes themselves.

Most Mormons are conservative because their culture is conservative, and conformity is rewarded and non-conformity is suppressed or subjected to banishment. This creates a closed, "intellectually incestuous" system with high degree of social inertia that makes it particularly resistant to change.

In computer science, the phrase is "garbage in, garbage out."

In Mormon and other strict fundamentalist religious sect, the analysis simply reads "conservatism in, conservatism out."

Well, anyway, I appreciate the opportunity to blow off some road rage...

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Posted by: brefots ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 10:15AM

Don't get me wrong, I think they are really on to something, but it's not as black and white as the article suggests. I live in sweden and I just cannot fathom how we'd apply this to swedish politics. You might call all our political parties socialist liberals, because that is how close you could get. But the fact of the matter is that swedish politics is so different that your labels simply doesn't apply. Does psychology really need a theory for the difference between any major political ideology? That the differences stems from different ways of percieving and thinking about reality is already self-evident anyway.

Another thing I want to point out is that I have studied some psychology. My tbm sister studied psychology (go figure), and by this I mean real psychology and not the nonsense of self-help books by self-proclaimed gurus but the real science (which btw has moved away from the nonsense by Freud many decades ago). I simply couldn't stop reading her books because it's so darn interesting. Anyway, there is this basic principle in human psychology that is called the confirmation bias. The confirmation bias is the tendency to seek out evidence that confirms what we already believe to be true and ignore evidence that points in any other direction. This is very important because it's a universal human trait and tends to color and distort the very science that seeks to understand it.

Now there are methods to minimize that the result of a study being distorted by the confirmation bias. In fact every dicipline in science has their own methods and there are also some general methods such as blind or even double-blind experiments. But in psychological matters the confirmation bias gets trickier than in most other sciences. It's very subtle, and I can't help to wonder. Were the questions in these studies framed in such a way as to, as far as possible, avoid the confirmation bias? Were the studies blind and even double-blind? Where they objective when they interpreted the data? Scientists are human too, and when it get's about such a loaded topic as politics it's hard to remain cool and objective. I'm pretty sure the scientists here were mostly liberals way before they conducted this study.

Finally I want to state that we have all met people who are openminded about some things and closeminded about other things. It's not an all or nothing proposition. And the very existence of the confirmation bias goes in itself a long way to explain why religous people are so hard to persuade out of their delusions.

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Posted by: cludgie ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 01:22PM

I definitely agree with what you say, and since the majority of us here are American, it becomes hard to look outside those terms. And it is definitely an article that doesn't apply to political thinking in many other countries. In your country, for instance, there is incredible pluralism, not only in government but in all other areas. This is why in my little mind, Sweden is sort of like The Promised Land. But here, sadly, religion is polarism is politics is daily life at the supermarket, and it is becoming damn unpleasant.

I tend to think that Mormonism = American jingoism. And Mormonism and Americanism same-same. And that is lost on so many Mormons, and that is one reason for lack of success in developed countries. For instance, Germans may want religion, but they probably don't want Americanism disguised as religion. If Mormonism could only be successfully peeled away from the American thing, they might have more success. I doubt that they can, no matter how much they harp on the whole "world church" concept.

I have a hard time squeezing people into one of basically two boxes, which is how I perceive what conservatives do, whereas my sister and her husband have no problems with this "skill." This causes unending arguments between us about the woes of the world today, and (at least for my purposes) explains why she accepts Mormonism and I don't. So I found the article interesting in this way. It attempts a bit unskillfully to explain why I think one way, and close relatives can think so differently. I have no need to have my thoughts reconcile, but my sister certainly does.

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Posted by: OnceMore ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 11:29AM

I agree with SL Cabbie that the word "closure" was poorly chosen. But the author of the article, Chris Mooney, is quoting a researcher with that unfortunate choice of words.

However, I found Mooney's analysis useful as a starting point for discussion (Mooney seldom finishes anything he writes with clarity).

Here's one section I found useful:

"Now consider another related trait implicated in our divide over reality: the 'need for cognitive closure.' This describes discomfort with uncertainty and a desire to resolve it into a firm belief. Someone with a high need for closure tends to seize on a piece of information that dispels doubt or ambiguity, and then freeze, refusing to consider new information. Those who have this trait can also be expected to spend less time processing information than those who are driven by different motivations, such as achieving accuracy.

"A number of studies show that conservatives tend to have a greater need for closure than do liberals, which is precisely what you would expect in light of the strong relationship between liberalism and openness. 'The finding is very robust,' explained Arie Kruglanski, a University of Maryland psychologist who has pioneered research in this area and worked to develop a scale for measuring the need for closure."

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Posted by: Cabbie (not logged in) ( )
Date: April 15, 2012 02:20PM

What Clooney calls "cloture" simply amounts amounts to differing "filtering" beliefs; I think a more astute analysis would use the term "process" since "cloture" is one possible outcome of process.

For the classic liberal however, "uncertainty" amounts to one hypothetical outcome, and that is equivalent to "cloture" for them. A simple contrast could be presented by defining the two sides with one being "The literature points to an 'agree-to-disagree' outcome" and the other the black-and-white "one side is wrong" (with varying degrees of politeness and condescension in the rhetoric, of course).

Okay, that's definitely binary, but I'm willing to entertain suggestions as to other categories that offer themselves for inclusion. They would, of necessity, be subjected to "process analysis" themselves.

Such a level of "drama" would not sit well emotionally with many with "conservative" credentials (I know on that one, because I used to be a conservative, although in retrospect, I can see I had as many doubts as that one as some of the former TBM's who visit here had about the "true church"). In self defense those sorts migrate to the "pied piper crowd" where "symbolic chanting" in the form of "thought stopping sound bites" work to modify and fixate the beliefs that form the "process structures."

There's doubtless some bias of my own in this analysis (on one level it amounts to a "grieving process" for me in "gaining cloture" for my former "rigidity." The danger is that such a "confession" would permit an adversary to level that charge nevertheless, an essentially hurtful act toward me but an act of self-validation for them).

Back to bed, Cabbie...

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