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“Low-effort thought promotes political conservatism” says new study

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There's a reason they called George W. Bush "the DeciderCitation Needed": a new study has been published that suggests that conservative ideologies are linked to "low-effort" thinking.

Now, "low-effort" thinking is not the same as low intelligence, and the point of this study is not to suggest that low intelligence is connected with prejudice and socially conservative beliefs. That was a different study.

"People endorse conservative ideology more when they have to give a first or fast response," wrote the study's lead author, University of Arkansas psychologist Dr. Scott Eidelman.

However, he did add, lest you jump to conclusions, that "Our research shows that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism, not that political conservatives use low-effort thinking."

Hilariously, the first round of research took place in a bar, and patrons with high blood-alcohol levels were more likely to express conservative viewpoints than their more sober peers, a finding I can confirm allegorically by way of every family gathering ever.  But the connection continued in an actual laboratory setting: people asked to evaluate political ideas quickly or while distracted were more likely to express conservative viewpoints.

"Keeping people from thinking too much… or just asking them to deliberate or consider information in a cursory manner can impact people's political attitudes, and in a way that consistently promotes political conservatism," Dr. Eidelman continued.

Obviously, there are no value judgments on either political alignments with this study, and it really only goes to show that people tend to gravitate towards simple, black-and-white interpretations when under stress. Of course, some conservative viewpoints do happen to neatly dovetail into black-and-white pairings ("With us or against us" comes to mind) rather than subtle shadings of context and circumstance, so there's that. And there was that one recent president that freely copped to leading with his gut rather than his brain, but it's still kind of a chicken-or-the-egg question: do conservatives lump everything into fewer categories of right and wrong because they prefer to see the world that way, or is it a byproduct of moving towards conclusions quicker than lefties?