Becoming more conservative often comes with getting older – but scientists have found that becoming a parent, not getting older, is more likely to propel people further to the Right.
In a peer-reviewed paper published WednesdayResearchers from several countries – including the US, Denmark and Japan – say they have found cross-cultural evidence that “parenthood is tied to social conservatism globally.” .
“The child-interest motive is one of the fundamental drivers of human behavior, but its power in shaping social attitudes and perceptions is underappreciated,” they said.
In a series of studies, the team found that political persuasion appears to be influenced by parenting.
The first study involved 376 participants, all of whom were American university students. Almost all students are “non-parents”.
Participants were divided into two groups and shown pictures of “cute, small children” or recreational activities before being asked to provide imaginary activities, baby names, and situations. Other assumptions involve visual prompts.
They then completed a survey of their opinions regarding topics such as marriage and abortion.
People who were “emotionally engaged” with imaginary parenting scenarios showed increasing levels of social conservatism, the researchers said.
Meanwhile, separate surveys of 2,610 adults across 10 countries analyzed their motivations for caring for children as well as their attitudes towards economic and social issues.
Polls show that parental motivation has little effect on economic conservatism, but there is a “very important” link between parental instincts and conservative beliefs — regardless of whether individuals have stepchild or not.
The association between conservative values and parental motivation did not fluctuate across age groups, suggesting that the behaviors of mothers and fathers, which did not age, promoted the change in social attitudes. festival.
The United States is among the countries with the strongest link between parental care and conservatism
The scientists also showed that the link was strong across countries, with the strongest relationship between parental care dynamics and social conservatism being found in the US, Lebanon, and South Korea. , El Salvador and Poland.
They note that these are countries in different global regions with diverse histories.
These results suggest that the relationship between parental caregiving motivations and social conservatism is not unique to Western or Christian countries.
The team found that people who had had children also valued traditionalism when it came to social issues, with the correlation between having children and conservatism being high across all age groups.
In the US, researchers also found a “very important” link between parenting and economic conservatism.
Another study by the team examined 40 years’ worth of surveys including data from more than 426,000 people in 88 countries.
Responses to questions on topics such as divorce, abortion, and premarital sex were used to assess conservatism.
Again, the researchers found a link between parenthood and conservative values.
“[The study] Researchers say they have found evidence that parents, especially those with multiple children, have more traditional and socially conservative views in dozens of countries around the world. world.
“It seems that parenthood, not age (or the wisdom that comes with it), promotes a hypothetical conservative relationship about age.”
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