Sunday, June 12, 2016

The psychology of conservatives

Some psychometric observations

Powerline has up a fun story which is rather long and quote-heavy so I will not reproduce it in full.  But here is the opening paragraph:

"Hoo-wee, the New York Times will really have to extend itself to top the boner and mother-of-all-corrections at the American Journal of Political Science. This is the journal that published a finding much beloved of liberals a few years back that purported to find scientific evidence that conservatives are more likely to exhibit traits associated with psychoticism, such as authoritarianism and tough-mindedness, and that the supposed “authoritarian” personality of conservatives might even have a genetic basis (and therefore be treatable someday?). Settle in with a cup or glass of your favorite beverage, and get ready to enjoy one of the most epic academic face plants ever"

It turns out that the authors got their statistics back to front.  What they said was true of conservatives was actually true of liberals and vice versa.  The article was titled: "Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies"

If you look closely at the findings, however, it doesn't much matter either way.  The only correlations of some note were between politics and Eysenck's P scale -- correlations explaining around 12% of the variance. Correlations of that magnitude could be of interest but in this case, the problem actually is the P scale.  It has poor reliability and originates as a set of "leftover" items in a factor analysis yielding two main factors.  In my research I have found internal reliabilities for it of as low as .40, which is way below the normal criteria for measuring anything.  What correlations with it mean is therefore hard to say.  You would have to do an item-by-item analysis to find out what was really going on.  As a scale, however, it is of doubtful meaning and proves nothing certain.

And given the known psychometric weakness of the P scale, the authors were quite remiss not to report any reliability data for the scale in their use of it.

The authors also reported various correlations with neuroticism but such correlations are all over the place.  Sometimes conservatives are found to be slightly more neurotic and sometimes it is liberals. And mostly it is neither. Again, however, there is a large problem with the measuring instrument used.  The Eysenck N scale is one-way-worded, which can greatly distort the score on it.  When I used a scale to neuter that problem, I found (in a community sample) no correlation between neuroticism and politics.

Finally the authors report some slight correlations with social desirability responding.  What these mean is also obscure.  Social desirability scales can collapse into complete unreliability sometimes -- but, far from giving us reliabilty data, the authors do not even tell us which of the several available scales they use.  I will not therefore attempt any interpretation of their findings

In short, both in its initial and revised form, the report is pure junk.  Hatemi and Eaves are generally good scholars but they seem to have fallen into a trap common among psychologists -- treating a measuring instrument as a black box -- without making any enquiry about what is going on inside it.

So all we have is another episode in the long tradition of doing junk research to examine the psychology of politics.  That Leftism is the politics of hate is just too unpleasant for most people to face.

Why Dr Eva Carneiro will live to regret her £5million victory

There was a haunted look on the face of Dr Eva Carneiro as she left an employment tribunal this week following a secret deal which ended her sexual discrimination claim against Chelsea Football Club.

My guess is that although the former team doctor had won a pay-out estimated to be a staggering £5 million, she may have realised that despite her stunning victory, her decision to bring the case may have been a terrible mistake.

Like many women before her who have bravely challenged males bosses over perceived sexism, the long-term effect could be deeply damaging.

Take two previous high-profile cases, in which successful City women (bankers Svetlana Lokhova and Isabel Sitz) took on their bosses for sexual discrimination. They won huge pay-outs of up to £3.2million but admitted afterwards that they were left feeling debilitated by the experience, with their self-confidence shattered.

During the tribunals they would have had to defend themselves against an army of lawyers and the inevitable courtroom attempts at character assassination.

Dr Carneiro, as we know, lost her job after the then Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, called her a ‘daughter of a whore’ for treating a player on the pitch he didn’t think was injured.

The 42-year-old doctor claimed she was simply seeking what was called a ‘whole career loss’ damages, which is probably an accurate description.

By challenging the oafs who control football, she will almost certainly never again get the job she loved in the industry she loved.

Why would a manager hire her if he feared she might be noting down or squirrelling away incriminating comments or emails for possible use in some future discrimination claim?

At the end of the case, Dr Carneiro said: ‘It has been an extremely difficult and distressing time for me and my family.’

Yes, sexist behaviour is unacceptable, but any woman brave enough to confront it needs to know that money won’t necessarily compensate her for the nightmare she will go through.

Revenge, however, justified, has a tendency — like a penalty rebounding off a goalpost — to bounce back and hit you in the face.


‘Blackmail’ forces UN to back down over report: Ban Ki-moon says he took Saudi Arabia off violating child rights blacklist after they threatened to stop funding programs

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has admitted he has removed Saudi Arabia from a blacklist for violating child rights in Yemen after the Saudis threatened to stop funding many UN programs.

Ban said he had no choice because there was a 'very real prospect' that millions of children in Syria, South Sudan and Palestine 'would suffer grievously' if the UN programs had to be closed down for lack of cash.

He said: 'This was one of the most painful and difficult decisions I have had to make.'

The United Nations blacklisted the Saudi-led coalition after concluding in a report last week ago that it was responsible for 60 per cent of the 785 children killed in Yemen last year.

Ban is due to step down as Secretary-General at the end of the year, which could explain why he was a little less diplomatic than usual.

The South Korean - who is tipped to be replaced by a woman, possibly former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark - did not identify Saudi Arabia by name but said: 'It is unacceptable for member states to exert undue pressure.'

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN, Abdullah al-Mouallimi denied his government had put pressure on the United Nations to reverse its decision by threatening to cut off millions of dollars in funding.

He said: 'We did say that such a listing and such unfair treatment would obviously have an impact on relations. 'But we did not use threats or intimidation and we did not talk about funding,' he added.

Human rights groups accused Ban of caving in to Saudi Arabia but he admitted the conflict in Yemen had led to 'horrors no child should have to face' but said he had no choice because the UN programs were so important.

The Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign in support of Yemen's President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi in March 2015 to push back Huthi rebels after they seized the capital Sanaa and many parts of the country.

The war has killed some 6,400 people, with more than 80 percent of the population in desperate need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.

Ban said he decided 'to temporarily remove' the Saudi-led coalition countries from the blacklist of governments and armed groups violating children's rights pending a joint review of cases with the Saudis.  'We will assess the complaints that have been made, but the content will not change,' he said.

Ban did not say the coalition could go back on the list after the review.

But the secretary-general did say that in response to concerns from Saudi Arabia and other governments the UN is considering if there is a better way to distinguish countries from 'terrorist and extremist groups' who are now listed together on the blacklist.

Mr Al-Mouallimi said: 'It is our firm belief that this de-listing is final, irreversible and unconditional, and when all the facts are in that will be further reconfirmed.'

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington agrees with the secretary-general 'that the UN should be permitted to carry out its mandate, carry out its responsibilities, without fear of money being cut off.'

The controversy over adding the Saudi-led coalition to the blacklist followed a similar uproar last year over the decision to exclude Israel over the deaths of 500 children in the war in Gaza.


More appalling British "justice"

'I had more freedom in prison' says man who is ordered to give police 24 hours notice before he has sex despite being cleared of rape

A man who has to give police 24 hours' notice before he has sex despite being cleared of a rape charge has said that he had more freedom when he was being held in prison on remand.

The single man, in his 40s, admitted to previously having an interest in sado-masochistic sex and used to visit a Fifty Shades Of Grey-style fetish club with an ex-partner. He also said he used to go on Tinder and 'played around'.

But the man, a father, denied having any criminal convictions, 'not even a parking ticket', when he spoke out following an adjourned hearing at York Magistrates' Court.

He accused North Yorkshire Police of 'sour grapes' after the force applied for a Sexual Risk Order (SRO) when he was acquitted of rape. He was cleared at a retrial, having spent 14 months on remand.

The terms of the SRO, currently an interim order which the police will apply to be made permanent at a hearing in August, has a list of conditions attached.

Among them is the requirement for him to inform police 24 hours before he has sex with a new partner.

The effect has been to devastate his personal life, he said, and contravened his human rights. 'It puts an end to your life,' he said. 'I had more freedom in prison.  'The severity of the restrictions exceed what convicted criminals would get on a Sexual Offence Prevention Order.'

The man said there was 'no prospect' of a relationship at the moment because of the rules he has been forced to live by. He said: 'Can you imagine, 24 hours before sex? Come on.'

He gave the example of chatting to a woman and saying: 'There's a nice French restaurant I'd like to take you to, but first the police are just going to come around for a little chat.'

He said the disclosure process to a potential partner would be 'horrendous', saying: 'Knock, knock, knock, this is the police, [Mr X] is subject to a Sexual Risk Order and is considered to be potentially dangerous ... Then they leave.'

The man, who cannot be identified by the media, said the SRO was made after he was cleared of raping a woman - different from the one with whom he visited the fetish club.

He said the jury at the retrial took an hour and six minutes to unanimously clear him.  He said: 'We wiped the floor with them.'

He had been accused of biting and scratching the complainant, but he said the scratching came during a massage, 'post-coitally', and there was no biting. 

His history of S and M sex was brought up at the trial, including evidence from a doctor with whom he had discussed his past. He claimed the doctor misunderstood what he was discussing, saying she was confused about what was just fantasy.  Police thought what he told the doctor was a confession.

'Thank God Fifty Shades of Grey came out when it did, it helped my barrister normalise that,' he said.

'The police, if they lose in court, are using these Sexual Risk Orders as a tool, by stealth.  'The standards of proof are so much lower. You don't even have to break the law.'

He has been charged with breaching the terms of the order by refusing to give police the PIN to his phone. He decided, having taken legal advice, not to give them the code as a point of principle, because he said the terms of an SRO were supposed to be prohibitive, not obligatory.

He was arrested and held in police custody overnight, and the terms of his SRO mean he cannot use any internet-enabled device that cannot be later checked by police.

He said that banned him from using certain fridges and lifts that are connected to the web. The wording of the order also stops him from using an intercom such as those used to get into a nursery or a flat.

He said: 'I'm in a state of shock, I cannot believe this is how the justice system works.  'I thought the police were interested in finding out the truth, the only thing the police are interested in is securing convictions.'

He added: 'It's so unjust, there is not a conviction to my name - one allegation, acquitted and they can still shut you down.  'They can create this virtual prison.'

The case will be back before York Magistrates on July 14 before a full hearing on August 19.

SRO's can be applied to any individual who the police believe poses a risk of sexual harm, even if they have never been convicted of a crime. They are civil orders imposed by magistrates at the request of police.  North Yorkshire Police declined to comment.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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