You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Ideas

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.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week