Link: Compare your moral values to the general population

post by lunchbox · 2010-11-28T03:21:59.940Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 24 comments

Jonathan Haidt, a professor at UVA, runs an online lab with quizzes that will compare your moral values to the rest of the population. I have found the test results useful for avoiding the typical mind fallacy. When someone disagrees with me on a belief/opinion I feel certain about, it's often difficult to tease apart how much of this disagreement stems from them not "getting it", and how much stems from them having a different fundamental value system. One of the tests alerted me that I am an outlier in certain aspects of how I judge morality (green = me; blue = liberals; red = conservatives):

Another benefit of these quizzes is that they can point out potential blind spots. For example, one quiz asks for opinions about punishment for crimes. If I discover I'm an outlier w.r.t. the population, I should reconsider whether my opinions are based on solid evidence (or did I see one study that found tit-for-tat punishment effective in a certain context, and take that as gospel?).

Extra reading: Haidt wrote a WSJ article last month that applied the learnings of these moral quizzes to better understanding the Tea Party.

24 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by CronoDAS · 2010-11-30T09:03:52.542Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I took a similar test a while back... I ended up scoring what might be regarded as "textbook liberal", ranking "harm" and "fairness" important, "loyalty" and "authority" unimportant, and "purity" not important at all. One thing I thought the test failed to capture is that I do think "loyalty" and "authority" are important, but as means rather than as ends in themselves; they help human societies function, but it seems to me to be more moral to betray your loyalties and ignore authorities when the alternative is to let them lead you into evil.

comment by Emile · 2010-11-28T10:08:32.296Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Another benefit of these quizzes is that they can point out potential blind spots. For example, one quiz asks for opinions about punishment for crimes. If I discover I'm an outlier w.r.t. the population, I should reconsider whether my opinions are based on solid evidence (or did I see one study that found tit-for-tat punishment effective in a certain context, and take that as gospel?).

It'd be interesting to have a quizz that also includes questions on what you think other people think - i.e. how well do you know which of your views differ from those of others?

comment by NihilCredo · 2010-11-28T03:44:08.834Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

May I suggest a warning label for significant time sink?

comment by michaelkeenan · 2010-11-28T05:57:23.211Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

If you're a libertarian, you might be interested in Haidt's recent work, adding a sixth moral foundation (liberty) to the original five. Libertarians generally score low for the usual five, but when tested on liberty, they score much higher than liberals and conservatives.

comment by Carinthium · 2010-11-28T04:37:25.655Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The tests don't seem to have any adjustments for self-delusion- more people are likely to actually be against things because they find them disgusting then would say so.

comment by Relsqui · 2010-11-28T06:09:08.307Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or vice versa--"I'm sure I believe x, all my neighbors do."

comment by Manfred · 2010-11-28T04:18:57.966Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I want error bars!

comment by [deleted] · 2010-12-01T03:22:56.265Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm beginning to be skeptical about research that tries to show that basic moral orientations, personality types, or even genes correspond to liberal, conservative, and libertarian.

Looking historically and globally, not all political party conflicts aligned as "left" and "right," and the idea of a distinctively libertarian ideology, neither left nor right, is probably no more than fifty years old. Tories vs. Whigs might be called a left/right split. But what about Jacobins and Girondins? Federalists and Anti-Federalists? 19th-century Democrats and Republicans?

If there are fundamental categories distinguishing different kinds of human personalities, and if they're supposed to explain political views, then it's a problem if they only explain current (and predominantly American) political views.

comment by FAWS · 2010-12-01T03:43:34.963Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

the idea of a distinctively libertarian ideology, neither left nor right, is probably no more than fifty years old.

Libertarian is largely just a more extreme, less left and more right leaning version of what's called liberal in Europe, isn't it? Liberal parties go back quite a bit longer than fifty years.

comment by fubarobfusco · 2010-12-31T22:28:05.770Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

How useful are "left" and "right" or "liberal" and "conservative" anyway? The folks over at the Political Compass suggest that while most mainstream political figures fall in a line with strong correlation between their views on social and economic issues, there are still substantial exceptions.

See, for instance, this chart dealing with candidates in the 2008 U.S. elections. Draw a line from Dennis Kucinich to Tom Tancredo and you have the U.S. political mainstream represented almost entirely on a single continuum. Broadly, people who are toward the left economically also tend to be less traditionalist on social issues such as religion, sex, speech, patriotism, and family; people who are toward the right tend to be more traditionalist on these issues.

The same correlation can be found on this chart of European nations: draw a line from Sweden and Finland to Greece and the UK, and you take in the same direction: economically rightward and socially more authoritarian. Likewise on this chart of U.S. states, this one for Australian parties, and this one for Canadian parties

(Their labels of "Libertarian" vs. "Authoritarian" for the social-issues axis leave something to be desired, since "authoritarianism" has strong negative connotations for a lot of people and "libertarianism" is also the name of a political ideology; but never mind that.)

It might be useful to think of the Kucinich/Tancredo axis (or center-left/authoritarian-right axis) as the "main sequence" of politics: most of the data points fall on or near this axis, but whole categories of exceptions exist. The entire Libertarian movement ranges from the middle right (Ron Paul land) down towards the bottom of the diagram; the left-anarchists are at the bottom left; the Communists towards the top left; and the so-called "extreme right" (like the BNP, the French National Front, or Pat Buchanan) are towards the center top.

And then there's me over in a spot nobody wants. Le sigh.

comment by [deleted] · 2010-12-01T03:51:08.932Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Maybe that's true.

I know libertarians claim intellectual ancestry from 19th century figures (Tucker, Spooner, Mill, Bastiat) but I don't know if classical liberals of the 19th century formed a "third party."

comment by InquilineKea · 2010-11-29T06:33:00.542Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

my results

my values

Haha, I care less about everything else than average on everything (except self-direction).

I'm also interested to hear how people scored on the meaning of life

and causality. (as you see, my attributions on context are highest, which I suspect the same to be for most LWers). I'm a heavy reader on behavioral genetics research (and have Attention Deficit Disorder myself), so my ratings on ability and effort tend to be low.

Moral foundations for sacredness: average amount of money I'd need to be paid to do something potentially immoral

on activities i would never do for any amount of money

relativism and idealism scale (old test)

comment by fubarobfusco · 2010-12-31T22:43:08.788Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On the meaning-of-life thing, kinda similar. It's not my life but these questions that struck me as meaningless!

comment by Perplexed · 2010-11-29T03:41:20.498Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Haidt gives a pretty good TED lecture on his model of morality.

comment by Relsqui · 2010-11-28T06:09:51.936Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I find it interesting how many more liberals have taken it than conservatives. Any hypotheses?

comment by [deleted] · 2010-11-28T15:25:40.139Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

There are some numbers in the chart's header that seem to provide that information.

comment by Relsqui · 2010-11-28T20:27:50.064Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes. That's why I know what it is to find it interesting. Any hypotheses as to why?

comment by InquilineKea · 2010-11-29T06:21:06.949Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Liberals tend to be higher on openness, and it takes openness to read websites like yourmorals.

In general, most websites that serve "nerdier" people tend to have very strong liberal biases (frequently with libertarians outnumbering conservatives). Conservatives are rare on most of these websites (it's the same case for reddit, digg, slashdot, and scienceblogs readers). Of course, the audience of people interested in social science also tends to skew left.

comment by [deleted] · 2010-11-28T03:36:51.513Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

results here

values survey Apparently I'm unusual. I care more about achievement than liberals or conservatives, but I care less about everything else!

comment by lunchbox · 2010-11-28T04:39:36.343Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I had the same issue with the Schwartz test. It seems not to correct for people who rate everything high (or low).

comment by NihilCredo · 2010-11-28T03:56:12.799Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

You need to take a screenshot. Your results only show if you are logged in.

comment by [deleted] · 2010-11-28T04:13:26.921Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

fixed.

comment by InquilineKea · 2010-11-29T06:14:57.634Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

my results

my values

Haha, I also care less about everything else on everything (except self-direction).

I'm also interested to hear how people scored on the meaning of life

and causality. (as you see, my attributions on context are highest, which I suspect the same to be for most LWers). I'm a heavy reader on behavioral genetics research (and have Attention Deficit Disorder myself), so my ratings on ability and effort tend to be low.

Moral foundations for sacredness: average amount of money

No amount of money

comment by Jack · 2010-11-28T19:42:31.383Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Me: Foundations