A new study has revealed that conservatives showed a greater aptitude for certain aspects of self-control than liberals, performing better on tasks that test persistence and attention regulation.
The research titled ‘The self-control consequences of political ideology’ led by Joshua John Clarkson, a University of Cincinnati assistant professor of marketing found that that conservatives outperformed liberals only when participants believed freewill has a beneficial impact on self-control. When participants believed freewill could undermine self-control, liberals outperformed conservatives.
Clarkson said the results were intriguing because research to this point has focused only on the positive outcomes of believing in freewill, but there are host of situations where it’s known that people are responsible for their actions that could lead to frustration, anxiety and other negative emotions and ultimately impair self-control, so in these contexts, these findings would suggest liberals will demonstrate greater self-control.
The research offered clear insight into the psyche of consumers. Clarkson further explained when marketers consider self-control, people tend to think of sticking to a diet or exercise regimen, not wandering off their grocery list or avoiding impulsive purchases.
All of these behaviors exhibit elements of attention regulation and persistence, however, ultimately it all comes down to believing whether or not people can control their own behavior, and the findings suggested that conservatives are more likely to believe they can control their own behavior.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).