A New Study Suggests Liberals Are More Creative Problem Solvers Than Conservatives

Liberals tend to use insight thinking more than conservatives.

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We already had an inkling that conservatives and liberals may think a bit differently. Look at the behavior on display at the recent presidential rallies, for example. Bernie Sanders rallies involve bird cameos and inspire women to take off their tops and condemn hate speech, while Donald Trump rallies tend to provoke intense protests and Nazi salutes. Now there's some scientific evidence to support what we already had a feeling about: according to researchers from Northwestern University, liberals may be more creative when it comes to problem-solving, The Huffington Postreports

The study looked at 129 students and matched 22 self-identified liberals with 22 self-identified conservatives. The pairs were asked to solve a word association problem, and their problem-solving techniques were then analyzed. While liberals and conservatives were able to solve a similar number of problems, the ways they went about doing so differed in one major way. The results show liberals are more likely to use something called "insight thinking," also called "Aha!" or Eureka thinking. Considering that insight is directly linked to creativity, the researchers said their findings suggest that liberals tend to think more creatively than conservatives. 

Carola Salvi, the lead author of the study, summed up the difference between liberal and conservative cognition: "Conservatives tend to be more structured, rigid and to prefer clear answers, whereas liberals have a higher tolerance of ambiguity and complexity and greater openness," she said. Although it's important to note that the differences only apply to problems with one right answer and stem from students who may not be fixed in their political views, the study proposes that liberal openness may give way to more cognitive creativity. 

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