New Study Confirms and Extends Earlier Finding Linking Socially-Conservative Value Judgments to Anti-Social Personality Traits

A new study by Marcus Arvan, PhD, appearing in the peer-reviewed research journal, Neuroethics, confirms and extends upon the results of an earlier study linking socially conservative views to three anti-social personality traits: Machiavellianism (deception), narcissism (overinflated sense of self-worth) and psychopathy (absence of guilt or remorse).

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Tampa, FL (PRWEB) March 06, 2012

A new study by Marcus Arvan, PhD, appearing in the peer-reviewed research journal, Neuroethics, confirms the results of an earlier study linking socially conservative views to three anti-social personality traits: Machiavellianism (deception), narcissism (overinflated sense of self-worth) and psychopathy (absence of guilt or remorse). Arvan’s two studies together suggest that socially conservative views are between 5 to 30 times more likely to be related to anti-social traits than socially liberal views.

Arvan’s earlier study (“Bad News for Conservatives? Moral Judgments and the Dark Triad Personality Traits: A Correlational Study,” published in Neuroethics) found these three anti-social traits to be related to conservative views on the death penalty, gay marriage, free markets, the right to go to war against UN resolutions and detention of suspected terrorists without trial. The study found no significant relationships for liberal judgments. Because Arvan utilized very stringent statistical tests, the statistical probability that his results were incorrect is less than 1 in 100,000.

Arvan’s new study (“A Lot More Bad News for Conservatives, and a Little Bit of Bad News for Liberals? A Follow-up Study”) replicates his findings for 15 additional moral issues, while also addressing several concerns raised in the popular press about his earlier study. Arvan’s new study found 22 significant relationships between the same three anti-social traits and socially conservative views on the following issues:

  •     Preventing illegal immigration.
  •     Deporting illegal immigrants.
  •     Building a fence along the US-Mexican border.
  •     Making English the official US language.
  •     Not providing public schooling to the children of illegal immigrants.
  •     Teaching “intelligent design” in public schools.
  •     The use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (including waterboarding) against suspected terrorists.
  •     Defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
  •     Obeying UN rules.
  •     Climate change.
  •     Environmentalism.

Once again, because Arvan utilized very stringent statistical tests, the statistical probability that these results were incorrect is less than 1 in 100,000. In contrast, Arvan's new study found only one significant relationship between anti-social traits and liberal judgments when using the same stringent statistical tests (where the probability of false results is less than 1 in 100,000). When using far less stringent statistical tests (where the probability of error is much higher, roughly 5 in 100), Arvan’s new study found six additional relationships between anti-social traits and liberal views on:

  •     Climate change.
  •     Environmentalism.
  •     The US ought to work within UN rules.
  •     The government ought to pursue its own interests in foreign affairs.

However, because these relationships for liberal views only emerged at much lower statistical levels, there is a significant probability (roughly 5 in 100) that some of these relationships are false positives.

Arvan’s two studies have now found 33 significant relationships between socially conservative views and anti-social traits across 27 different moral issues – or more than one relationship per moral issue examined. In comparison, Arvan's two studies have only found one significant relationship for liberal views across the same 27 moral issues at the same level of significance and seven relationships for liberal views at much lower levels of statistical significance. Arvan’s two studies therefore indicate that socially conservative views are between 5 to 30 times more likely to be related to anti-social personality traits than liberal views.

Here is a full abstract of the results of Arvan’s new study:
Abstract: In a recent study appearing in Neuroethics, I reported observing eleven significant correlations between the “Dark Triad” personality traits – Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy – and “conservative” judgments on a 17-item Moral Intuition Survey. Surprisingly, I observed no significant correlations between the Dark Triad and “liberal” judgments. In order to determine whether these results were an artifact of the particular issues I selected, I ran a follow-up study testing the Dark Triad against conservative and liberal judgments on fifteen additional moral issues. The new issues examined include illegal immigration, abortion, the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools, the use of waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the war on terrorism, laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and environmentalism. 1154 participants (680 male, 472 female; median age 29), recruited online through Amazon Mechanical Turk, completed three surveys: a 15-item Moral Intuition Survey (MIS), the 28-item Short Dark Triad personality inventory, and a five-item demographic survey. The results strongly reinforce my earlier findings. Twenty-two significant correlations were observed between “conservative” judgments and the Dark Triad (all of which were significant past a Bonferonni-corrected significance threshold of p=.0008), compared to seven significant correlations between Dark Triad and “liberal” judgments (only one of which was significant past p=.0008). This article concludes by developing a novel research proposal for determining whether the results of my two studies are “bad news” for conservatives or liberals.

The article presenting these findings is available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/a14q60711k15gt77/

The article reporting Arvan’s earlier findings is available at:
http://www.springerlink.com/content/k86q25k2278188gw/