Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide - Hector A. Garcia 2019
Differences in Social Rules between Liberals and Conservatives
Is Conservatism an Extreme form of The Male Brain?
Compared to liberals, conservatives are far more rules oriented. One study of political views among Europeans, for example, asked subjects to rate how much the views of a hypothetical person reflect their own, on statements like, “He believes that people should do what they're told. He thinks people should follow rules at all times, even when no one is watching.” Conservative ideology predicted rule following.67 This is a fairly robust research finding across the literature. In the United States, for example, conservatives score higher than liberals on measures of conscientiousness, which includes indices of rule following.68 In many ways, the conservative tendency to be rule oriented links with several other predictors of conservatism. For example, conservatives tend to value traditionalism, a dedication to existing ways of doing things, including following established rules, and conservatives are inclined to resist social change more than liberals.69 A fairly emphatic example of rules orientation among conservatives is the greater tendency to favor harsher punishment for rule breakers, such as the death penalty or longer prison sentences.70
In summary, our examination of the cognitive, affective, language, social, and even brain morphology differences found between women and men vividly mirror the same differences between liberals and conservatives. Once again, the use of Baron-Cohen's framework is to establish a base of empirical support to our gendered political psychology hypothesis, rather than to pathologize conservatism. In fact, the differences we see across gender, sex, and partisanship exist today because of the adaptive functions they once served the lives of our ancestors.