The real difference between liberals and conservatives

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt studies the five moral values that form the basis of our political choices, whether we’re left, right or center. In this eye-opening talk, he pinpoints the moral values that liberals and conservatives tend to honor most.

How we read each other’s minds

Sensing the motives and feelings of others is a natural talent for humans. But how do we do it? Here, Rebecca Saxe shares fascinating lab work that uncovers how the brain thinks.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on, at Watch a highlight reel of the Top 10 TEDTalks at


One Response

  1. I do respect what psychologist Jonathan Haidt has to say and also his research, I love the interesting subject, too. However I really wonder about the exact type of questions he asked people in his questionnaire/survey. I wonder if the questions were complex enough for the interviewee; catching the difference between the subtle yet important distinctions of respecting authority & desiring authority (from whom, & when & what setting), including all the little nuances of authority. This could effect the line direction immensely, & problems do arise like this when political pollsters are done. For example, questions are too simplistic (not enough questions), or they are just plain deceptive. Think about a liberal special ed. teacher wanting to keep a high level of respect flowing back & forth from student to teacher–to keep & teach good boundaries. The same could be desired from a liberal parent, or a liberal mental health worker. Here, the idea/moral value is authority & respect need to be present/ taught. If consequences are not delivered for bad behavior, no one benefits. Teaching independence, responsibility, & a few tough lessons/tough love is not left or right in my mind. The same thing can be said about being in favor of regulation & overseeing corporate systems; not minding the government involved in more things fiscally. So this means I am a liberal with a socialist bent. It means my liberalness is complicated & my relationship to authority” is not cookie-cutter stereotype. The words liberal & conservative can be confusing–maybe too black & white. I know I have changed my political understanding of the world and my “how to make change happen” approach since I was in my early 20’s. I now have the willingness to vote for a democrat 99% of the time (both local and federal level), even though I am definitely a progressive democrat & almost always disagrees with conservatives in the dem party and outside of it. I vote this way because I know this country is bipartisan & not a parliamentary (shared cooperative power) government. Until then, I vote Dem. I feel Ralph Nader & friends do not understand or care about this HUGE snarl of a fact so hubris ensues. It was in my 20’s when I thought only about ideas & principles rather than aligning support to pass bills and make change happen (slow but sure versus no change at all… or worse.) I would think that all of this could not be answered/measured correctly with general black & white survey questions.

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