Study: Physical Outrage Differs Significantly Between Liberals & Conservatives

Research discovers how people may actually be wired differently

Image Credits: BSIP / Contributor / Getty.

The physical outrage liberals feel when offended is significantly different from what a conservative experiences, a new study says.

This conclusion is part of a larger body of behavioral science that operates on the assumption that “liberals and conservatives rely on different moral foundations and react differently to violations of morals.”

This study, in particular, examined how moral violations – like seeing someone being unfair or disloyal to someone else – are “felt” in the body (i.e., faster heartbeat, twisting stomach, flushing face, or loss of feeling in legs.)

Study participants were asked to draw where they felt “emotion-related body sensations” on highly-detailed silhouettes of the human body after experiencing an offense over specific moral metrics that included care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and purity.

“Our study finds that liberals and conservatives feel moral violations in different areas of their bodies, interpret them as distinct complex feelings and make different moral and political judgements,” said an assistant professor at the University of Southern California. “This was particularly true for perceptions of feelings of loyalty and purity.”

A notable example is provided.

“Liberals feel violations of purity in their crotch area, chest and slightly in their heads while conservatives feel these violations almost exclusively — and very strongly — in their heads.”

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