Liberals focus their attention on ‘gaze cues’ much differently than do conservatives, study finds.
It goes without saying that conservatives and liberals don’t see the world in the same way. Now, research from the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln suggests that is exactly, and quite literally, the case.
In a new study, UNL researchers measured both liberals’ and conservatives’ reaction to “gaze cues” – a person’s tendency to shift attention in a direction consistent with another person’s eye movements, even if it’s irrelevant to their current task – and found big differences between the two groups.
Liberals responded strongly to the prompts, consistently moving their attention in the direction suggested to them by a face on a computer screen. Conservatives, on the other hand, did not.
Why? Researchers suggested that conservatives’ value on personal autonomy might make them less likely to be influenced by others, and therefore less responsive to the visual prompts.