Does Getting Drunk Make You More Politically Conservative?

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Photo: merfam | Flickr

Political conservatism rose with blood alcohol content.These studies show that conservatism may be tied to low effort vs deliberate thinking:

The authors test the hypothesis that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism.

In Study 1, alcohol intoxication was measured among bar patrons; as blood alcohol level increased, so did political conservatism (controlling for sex, education, and political identification).

In Study 2, participants under cognitive load reported more conservative attitudes than their no-load counterparts.

In Study 3, time pressure increased participants’ endorsement of conservative terms.

In Study 4, participants considering political terms in a cursory manner endorsed conservative terms more than those asked to cogitate; an indicator of effortful thought (recognition memory) partially mediated the relationship between processing effort and conservatism.

Together these data suggest that political conservatism may be a process consequence of low-effort thought; when effortful, deliberate thought is disengaged, endorsement of conservative ideology increases.

Source: “Low-Effort Thought Promotes Political Conservatism” from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

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