Are conservatives in better shape than liberals? It could be because they have more self control, a new study finds.
According to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, there is a “critical difference” between political leaning and self-control.
The authors who conducted the study gathered 300 participants for three separate series, and they found that the people who identified as conservative had better self-control than those who identified as liberal — regardless of race or gender.
“Conservatives tend to believe they had a greater control over their outcomes, and that was predicting how they did on the test,” Joshua Clarkson, the lead author of the paper, said.
To test self-control, Clarkson and his colleagues asked participants to look at a list of color words that were written on colored backgrounds. For example, the word blue was written on a green background. The participants would then be asked to read the word, and ignore the background color completely.
“If you see the word ‘red’ in blue type your mind wants to say ‘blue’ right away, but you have to suppress that,” Clarkson said. “That’s why it is a strong indicator of self regulation.”
Both conservatives and liberals could read the words, but Clarkson said conservatives could do it faster.
“Specifically, greater endorsement of political conservatism (versus liberalism) was associated with greater attention regulation and task persistence,” the study revealed.