AP: 'Conservatives Say They're Happy, But Liberals Show It'

March 12th, 2015 3:49 PM

In a writeup which shows that the wire service obviously hasn't studied the hateful examples of liberal-left hate collected by the Twitter curators at Twitchy, a Thursday afternoon Associated Press writeup claims that conservative "say" they're happy (with an implication that they don't really mean it), while liberals "show it" (supposedly meaning that they're genuine).

The reporter assigned to this pathetic piece of pablum somehow deemed worthy of "Big Story" status is Seth Borenstein, whose normal beat is twisting his reportage to convince America in light of mountains of contrary evidence and 18 years of flat worldwide temperatures that global warming-climate change-climate disruption is real. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

Study: Conservatives say they're happy, but liberals show it

Conservatives say they are happier, but liberals show more cheer in smiles, word choice and even emoticon use, claims a new scientific study.

Other researchers found fault with the study, which looked at how Democrats and Republicans differ in positive language in speeches entered into the Congressional Record, photos in the congressional directory, tweets by followers of the two different political parties, LinkedIn photos associated with advocacy groups, and answers to psychological satisfaction-with-life surveys.

The scientists found Democrats in Congress and liberals in general used a statistically significant amount of more positive language and smiled more with their eyes in photographs, while conservatives self-reported more satisfaction with life, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

"We're not saying liberals are happier, they behave happier," said study co-author Peter Ditto, a professor of psychology at the University of California Irvine. "But conservatives report being happier."

Other studies have reported that conservatives tend to score higher on tests that rate how satisfied with life they are, but University of California Irvine graduate student Sean Wojcik, the study's lead author, decided to look deeper. He looked at other indicators of happiness: words and facial expressions.

... Political scientist Jack Pitney said the Wojcik study was so off kilter that it seemed to be a parody, adding "I don't think too many people will take this seriously." A professor at Claremont McKenna College, he had many questions about the way the study was conducted and said conservatives in general want less government so this would be reflected in the language they use when talking about government.

One study team member, who initially wasn't told what the project was about, examined congressional portraits to rate their facial emotions, an accepted technique in psychology. Democrats and Republicans had similar smiles around the mouth, but the more telling features for happiness are the muscles around the eyes and there Democrats looked cheerier, Wojcik said. He also found more positive language — and emoticon use — in tweets from people who followed only Democratic Twitter accounts versus only Republican account followers.

Several outside psychology experts told The Associated Press that while it was interesting, they didn't find the study convincing. They faulted some techniques, did not see a significant difference between the two ideologies' scores and they criticized the researchers for mixing long-term happiness in self-reporting with momentary good moods in pictures and language.

Several obvious points:

  • "We're not saying liberals are happier, they behave happier," really seems to mean "We're not saying liberals are happier, they act happier."
  • The differences in positive and negative language, even if legitimate, are far more likely an indication of who is in power. In Washington, academia, and the press, that would be liberals. In fact, when liberals get really, really mad is when someone genuinely and credibly challenges that power or points out the hypocrisy of those who are in power.
  • The absurd study of portraits considers "looking cheery" the same as "being happy." Some of the cheeriest people on earth are con men who are personally miserable. Oh, wait, that's an accidental partisan reference, isn't it?
  • To grasp how weird all of this is, one has to assume that hordes Democrats and liberals who indicate that they aren't really happy actually are, and that similar hordes of Republicans and conservatives who say they are happy really aren't.

As to "words and facial expressions," it would be a treat to see the study's lists of "positive" and "negative" words. Maybe Seth Borenstein, the AP's designated climate scam reporter, can tell us whether any reference to climate change being real gets classified as "positive."

Another: Is the bogus "undocumented worker" label a positive term, and "illegal alien" a negative?

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.