Were you aware that conservatives understand the meaning of life more than liberals do? Not only that, conservatives are also happier than liberals – according to a massive study. There is certainly no doubt that the meaning of something is very personal to every one of us.
However, a recent study that was posted in the publication Social Psychological and Personality Science has discovered that some are more skilled at understanding meaning than other people — and this difference is actually divided by their political bend.
This study evaluated the results from over 50,000 people who came from some 16 different countries. They discovered that people who identified themselves as political conservatives were much more apt to experience satisfaction and meaning in their life than political liberals were.
“Political conservatives tend to be happier than liberals, a finding that has been labeled the ‘happiness gap’ in media reporting,” reported the team of psychologists who are from the University of Southern California (USC) in their final report. “One conservative commentator even described it as ‘niftily self-reinforcing; it depresses liberals.'”
Do You Vote red or Feel blue?
When conducting this study, scientists divided the notion of being happy into two facets. The first was happiness in terms of day-to-day satisfaction and happiness as an overall sense of the meaning in life.
In order to measure how intense these ideas contributed to the gap of happiness between conservative and liberals, these researchers from USC compiled data from five (5) various psychological surveys that were administered from the years of 1981 through 2017. Each of these surveys asked people to jot down their feelings and opinions on different political issues and also to respond to some version of contentment questions like “How satisfied are you with your life?” and “Do you feel your life has meaning?”
The difference that scientist observed was not huge, but it was very steady and consistent. Over all five (5) of these surveys, participants identifying as being a conservative politically were much more apt to experience more intense feelings of satisfaction and meaning than liberals. The results were the same whether people were asked to evaluate their satisfaction level over the last 24 hours or if they evaluated their life as a whole.
So why did they get this result? Amazingly, it had nothing to do with God or religion. Even after researchers re-adjusted their statistical application to the data after taking out the religion factor out of the entire equation, conservatives were still happier with a stronger sense of purpose.
One interesting clue pertained to whether or not a participant’s view were more economically or socially conservative. “Social conservatism (in form of opposition to abortion and gay marriage) was a better predictor of meaning in life than economic conservatism, whereas the reverse was true for life satisfaction,” the study’s authors reported.
The connection between economic beliefs and life satisfaction was pretty enough to understand. There is no doubt that financial well-being will make a person’s life less stressful.
“Finding meaning in life is related to the sense or feeling that things are the way they should be and that there is a sense of order,” David Newman said in a comment. “If life feels chaotic, then that would likely dampen your sense that life is meaningful.”