We're not so different, liberals and conservatives

Everyone, including political moderates, overestimates the gap between liberal and conservative morals, according to the new study published today (Dec. 12) in the journal PLOS ONE. …

Graham and his colleagues based their work on previous research that has found real differences in the ways liberals and conservatives view morals. Essentially, people see morality through five different domains, these studies have found. The first is harm/care, or concerns about treating people with compassion and sympathy. The second is fairness/reciprocity, which has to do with ideals about justice and rights.

Both conservatives and liberals care about these first two domains, but liberals tend to put more emphasis on them than conservatives. Meanwhile, the study found, the last three moral areas are important to conservatives, and less so to liberals. These three areas are all focused on group morality. The first is ingroup/loyalty, which includes patriotic concerns and “us versus them”-style arguments. The second is authority/respect, which demands respect for tradition and social order. The final domain is purity/sanctity, which includes such beliefs as “the body is a temple” and similar religious purity concerns. [8 Ways Religion Impacts Your Life]