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Conservatives report, but liberals display, greater happiness

Resource Type
  • Wojcik, Sean
  • Hovasapian, Arpine
  • Graham, Jesse
  • Motyl, Matt
  • Ditto, Peter
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • n/a
Free Keywords
self-enhancement; happiness; linguistic analys; FACS; political ideology
  • Abstract

    Research suggesting that political conservatives are happier than political liberals has relied exclusively on self-report measures of subjective well-being. We show that this finding is fully mediated by conservatives' self-enhancing style of self-report (Study 1; N=1433), and then describe three studies drawing from "big data" sources to assess liberal-conservative differences in happiness-related behavior (Studies 2-4; N=4936). Relative to conservatives, liberals more frequently used positive emotional language in their speech, and smiled more intensely and genuinely in photographs. Our results were consistent across large samples of online survey takers, American politicians, Twitter users, and LinkedIn users. Our findings illustrate the nuanced relationship between political ideology, self-enhancement, and happiness, and illuminate the contradictory ways that happiness differences can manifest across behavior and self-reports.
Temporal Coverage
  • 2008-01-01 / 2015-06-01
    Time period: Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2008--Mon Jun 01 00:00:00 EDT 2015
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Funding insitution(s): n/a (n/a).
This study is freely available to the general public via web download.

Update Metadata: 2016-08-27 | Issue Number: 21 | Registration Date: 2015-06-19

Wojcik, Sean; Hovasapian, Arpine; Graham, Jesse; Motyl, Matt; Ditto, Peter (2015): Conservatives report, but liberals display, greater happiness. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.