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The Boston Globe


Uncommon Knowledge

Tough luck for women in science

And other insights from the social sciences

Hard conservatives, soft liberals

Traditionally, conservatives have presented themselves as tough, while liberals have been seen as bringing a softer touch to politics. Based on the results of a new study, these metaphors are so ingrained that they’ve become almost tangible. People who squeezed a hard ball while viewing a face were more likely to judge that face to be a Republican compared to when they were squeezing a soft ball. Likewise, after writing about a Republican, people were more likely to judge a ball to be harder than after writing about a Democrat. The effect also translated to academic disciplines, as squeezing a hard ball made it more likely that students would identify a professor as a physicist.

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