Phoenix Arizona, USA, April, 2009: Tea Party attendee protests government policies with home-made sign. Courtesy: iStock

A growing body of research suggests that we are a nation divided not only by partisanship or how we view various issues, but also by dramatically different cognitive styles. Sociologists and psychologists are getting a better understanding about the ways that deep seated emotional responses effect our ideological viewpoints.

Last week, Moyers & Company caught up with Mother Jones science writer Chris Mooney, host of the Inquiring Minds podcast and author of The Republican Brain: the Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality, to talk about what this research may tell us about the attitudes of those involved in the tea party movement. Below is a lightly-edited transcript of our discussion.


4 thoughts on “Can Science Explain Tea Partiers’ Rage?

  1. Good article. I have heard these findings before on Ted Talks. I believe these findings to be true as it is obvious the left and right have very different outlooks on life and moral beliefs.

    Basically conservatives/Tea Party are more selfish, uptight, autoritarin, moralist. Think law and order, moral enforcers, and financially orientated; police, conservative clergy, judges, stock brokers, bankers, CEOs.

    Liberals/progressives more compassionate, laid back, tolerant, and open minded. Think compassionate creatives who value openness and tolerance; artist, musicians, writers, actors, activist, teachers, counselors.

    Libertarians are similar to liberals personality wise but are not very concerned with fairness and not as compassionate. Economics is what is the huge divide between them and progressives. Think ruggedly independent and fierce defenders of freedom; technology oriented jobs, entrepreneurs, innovators, inventors.


  2. P.S. That sign is one of the nicer ones I have seen from the Tea Party in this stat, I have seen very ugly and hateful ones.


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