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March 20, 2006

Whiners grow up to be conservative, study claims

A new study reports that whiny kids are more likely to become conservative:

Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.
At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals. The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding.But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids' personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There's no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it's unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective. [Kansas City Star]

The alternative explanation is that conservative toddlers in Berkeley, California have a lot to whine about.

More information on Jack Block and his famous longitudinal study of personal development, still going after over 30 years.


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Julian, I'd say that a person who's confident enough to sit alone and do his/her own thing (without seeing anything wrong with it) is probably quite well-adjusted.

On the other hand, someone who introduces himself to an ideological discussion by lobbing a facile personal attack...


Some kids keep to themselves because they're painfully shy, or because other kids think they're weird. It's not always (or even often) a sign of self-reliance and independence in 8-year-olds.

And I think the picture is a great way to bring people into the site--it personalizes the blog, and lets readers know that they can expect some attitude.

Speaking as a whiny libertarian, I suspect that we're the people who realized that our enemy (the mundanes) became the people who run the government.

What about kids who weren't confident or well adjusted, but weren't whiny either? Y'know, the kids who sit at the table by themselves for lunch reading something, and don't really have many friends, and don't think that's a problem?

Civil libertaians. Or plain old libertarians.

Eli beat me to it. I bet that whiny kids in places Kansas grow up liberal. In general, I think one of the better ways to track upbringing and politics is to look at whether the parents values are successfully passed on to the children, rather than trying to view "conservative" and "liberal" as fixed ideas that different personality types might gravitate to.

Nope. "Whiny children become conservatives" fits in nicely with this study.

RE: Shouting Thomas

All I want to know is where did Lindsey get that fantastic Johnny Cash t-shirt! C.R.E.A.M!

Are not all kids whiny? Of course another liberal loaded stab at logical thinking people.

I knew alot of whiny little shits in college that were liberal. Since I don't think college kids are grown ups, they are still kids. But now in adulthood, I think I know more adults who are whiners who are conservative.

A liberal is a republican that has had a does of real life, and this,has finally been proven by Dr.Jack Block .
Sorry...I really don't buy the results, and I am weary of most statistics any how.
Dr.Block studied the kids for 20 years,starting from kindergarten, that would make the average age of the test subjects, around 24, maybe 25.the age that most people begin to break away from their parents views, and develop their own.
I can't take this study seriously the age is all wrong, that and if you assume that the independent thinkers never change their minds, and thus never change their views or political parties.
The study would have been more reliable if Dr. Block published his study 30 years after he started where the subjects would have had more time to develop their political views. Once Dr.Block published his work, it becomes harder to see him really being a critic for his own work.To continue for another 10 years indicates he, and his wife, where digging for more prof to support their claims.Thats not good research.

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