Conservatism and Physical Fitness: Political Science Senior Research, Adrian College
Conservatism and Physical Fitness
Exploratory Study Indicates Conservatives are more Physically Fitness
November 2, 2008
The following is a description of an exploratory experiment conducted to establish a
positive correlation between political ideology (conservatism) and physical fitness (respiratory
health). The experiment is presented as a design and is also described in terms of the actual
methodology which occurred. Upon completion the experiment results were calculated revealing
that, although statistically insignificant, indicate a positive relationship between conservatism
and fitness, such that the more conservative one is, the more physically fit they are. Subsequent
studies would need to be conducted in order to resolve the larger causal research question: “Does
political ideology cause a specific level of fitness?” Included is an analysis of possible models
and a proposed method for evaluating the relationship as causal. In entirety the work seeks to
illuminate the path to testing the question: “Are conservatives or liberals more fit?” empirically
and in a manner that both, adds to previous causal knowledge, and addresses the informal
questions of our curious culture.
Constituencies have long promoted the formation of parties and factions based on
political opinions and personal values. Often these groups verbally, and occasionally physically,
attack one another claiming that the opposing division is inferior for any number of reasons.
Occasionally this bickering turns to claims about the inherent differences between the groups.
One such claim was that their ideology was more physically fit. This study addresses the claim
by reviewing empirical research on the topics, conducting and presenting an experiment (which
tests for correlation), and proposing a study which would make causal research conclusive.
This exploratory study is based on the overall research question “Are Conservatives or
Liberals more fit?” Proposed as a hypothesis this question became: “Political ideology causes
physical fitness.” Due to lack of research in the area this causal premise was not yet legitimate.
First a correlation between political ideology and physical fitness needed to be established. The
focused initial research question then became: “Does a positive relationship exist between on
political ideology and a specific level of fitness?” This study concentrates primarily on
establishing a connection between physical fitness level and ideological position. The
experiment conducted to satisfy this question used the hypothesis: “Political ideology does
correlate to levels of physical fitness.” When complete the study indicated that political ideology
is related through a positive correlation to physical fitness such that more conservative subjects
display higher levels of fitness and more liberal (less conservative) subjects displayed lower
levels of physical fitness. Having determined a relationship between Conservatism and fitness,
the initial question of causality may be introduced appropriately. This is addressed with a
number of possible options which are briefly evaluated. Of these one likely candidate is selected
as a connective variable.
A design for empirical testing is included following the description of possible
relationship models. Although the results of the study lack statistical significance, they do point
toward conclusions which are interesting and revealing. The outcome is also consistent with
modern testing on conservative thought patterns and supports many recent findings. The product
of the study is information which inspires psychological, sociological, biological,
anthropological, historical, and political research. One example is that an entirely new paradigm
for explaining historical scenarios could be developed based on the differing health of factions.
This discovery has potential to fill a missing piece in existing literature, and more importantly in
the basics of physiological knowledge.
Since the formation of the American two party system, and the observation that political
views can be characterized as liberal or conservative, there has been much informal debate over
whether some characteristics are inherent in individuals of certain political tendencies.
Researchers seeing the need to view conservatism or liberalism ordinally, created an index that
operates as a scale. This range, called the Wilson-Patterson Conservatism Scale, is used to judge
where along the political continuum one‟s ideology falls (G. Wilson & J. Patterson, 1988). A
correlation was then established by multiple investigators between political orientation and
cognitive methods (A. Chirumbolo, 2002; J. T. Jost, J. Glaser, A. W. Kruglanski, & F. Sulloway,
2003a, 2003b; M. Kemmelmeier, 1997). In fact the discussion regarding cognitive dispositions
dates back to “The Authoritarian Personality” (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford,
1950). Some have even written of the possibility that political tendencies are inherited
genetically (Bouchard et al., 2003; Tesser, 1993).
In any case, there is ample evidence that Conservatives and Liberals think and act
differently, on average, generating new discoveries. Specific characteristics were soon shown to
be positively related. One example is that rigidity has been shown to be more likely found in
Conservatives (Jost et al, 2003). It has been shown also that colleges are primarily Liberal in
political view (Kemmelmeier, Danielson, & Basten, 2005; Klein & Stern, 2005; Klein &
Western, 2005; Zipp & Fenwick, 2006). Recent evidence even points to such cognitive styles
dictating the possessions we choose, the music we listen to, and even the way we decorate (Dixit,
2007; Drapkin, 2005). Further testing confirms that cognitive style differs in problem solving
and everyday life with the use of EEG testing and meta-analysis of old data (Amodio, 2007;
Thorisdottir, Jost, Liviatan & Shrout, 2007). Recognizing that these differences exist, has lent
authority to claims, that were used jokingly before, but now may carry some actual weight. For
instance, since conservatives are said to be more rigid one might imply that liberals then would
be naturally more fit due to their ability to adapt to what is proven to be the better physical
fitness program. The same claim could be construed to say the opposite. That is, perhaps ability
to adhere to a daily plan may have fitness benefits, and in fact it does (Feilding, Katula, Miller,
2007). Other possible normative claims include reference to the higher class of the average
conservative being a hindrance to them since the liberal would be working harder physically in
order to survive. Also, there is a clear concern most Liberals seem to share over the environment
(De-Shalit, 1995). This could imply stronger social responsibility. Many other factors exist,
each providing fuel for a claim. Seeing no empirical test that shows a correlation between fitness
and political ideology, it is crucial that these claims are investigated.
Are Conservatives or Liberals more fit? Is there any relationship between political
ideology and fitness? The developed research design created a procedure which could be used to
examine these questions empirically. The null hypothesis: “Political Ideology does not correlate
with any specific level of physical fitness,” was the anticipated result. The fashioned alternate
hypothesis: “Political Ideology does relate to level of physical fitness,” was chosen for use as the
experimental model. The alternate hypothesis suggested that subjects with strong liberal or
conservative views would show correlating fitness scores as tested.
In efforts to promote health and longevity researchers have attempted to standardize
physical fitness tests. In this way, the best overall fitness attainable can be promoted. The
multistage standardized fitness test is widely used, applicable to all age groups, and directly
correlates with cardio-respiratory health. Being the primary concern in avoiding obesity and a
vast number of diseases that one would be susceptible to, given they were not in proper physical
condition (Leger, Merceir, Gadoury, Lambert, 1988; Lobelo, Ruiz, 2007). Testing the
relationship directly between physical fitness and ideology fills an unexplored gap in the
research and could have both important historical applications for political theory and interesting
insight into the way human thought patterns differ in mass. That, in turn, could have powerful
sociological applications. For instance, one genetic ideological trait might be superior, leading to
an explanation for a long standing political ideological rule.
Correlation Research Design
Alternate Hypothesis: Political Ideology does correlate to levels of physical fitness.
Null Hypothesis: Political Ideology does not relate to a specific level of physical fitness.
Test subjects for conservatism after subjecting them to a standardized accepted physical
fitness test. The original anticipated result listed here: This would likely reveal no significant
correlation between political ideology and health. Ideology seems to be a very abstract and
disjointed. For this reason it could be a nonissue in deciding fitness. The material following
this section describes methodology that was crafted based on this initial design.
Operationalization of variables (Definition of Concepts):
Physical Fitness: cardio-respiratory health and ordinary competence as calculated by the
Multistage Fitness Test, also known as MSFT, 20m Shuttle, Bleep Test. This test has been
shown to indicate a VO2max score which is the commonly accepted measure for aerobic
Political Ideology: attitude measured by the Wilson Paterson Conservatism Scale. Using
the best version of this model, which most agree is the British abridged test, the subjects will
answer [yes, no, or, ?] to each quick word or phrase for 50 questions and then be scored
according to their answer. The results will be a number on the range from a possible 100%
correlation liberal with a score of 0 to a vice versa scenario for conservative, with a score of 100.
The actual result was a positive correlation between physical fitness and Conservative
ideology such that strongly aligned conservatives were more fit than strongly aligned Liberals.
The range of possible results included a positive or negative relationship between ideology and
fitness or no correlation between the variables. In other words fitness and ideology are not
connected in any way or they are connected. In this particular experiment one variable,
ideology, is a continuum between two ends of a scale which is split between conservatives and
liberals. Fitness is a continuum between unfit and fit. For this reason the experiment was
conducted before choosing which nominal variable, conservative or liberal, was chosen as the
positive side of the correlation. The more conservative one is, the more fit they are according to
the resultant model. The resulting positive correlation between the variables of conservatism and
fitness begs the question, is the correlation a causal relationship. These questions will be
addressed following an explanation of the experiment for causality which was conducted.
Political ideology has been defined in terms of political attitude as shown by the
accredited Wilson Patterson Conservatism scale. Physical Fitness has been described in terms of
VO2max score since this measure has been shown to be an accurate portrayal of general fitness
and cardio-respiratory strength. This exploratory experiment was conducted on Adrian College
campus, a private liberal arts school of roughly 1,400 students. Unfortunately the sample group
that was acquired was not enough to be statistically significant.
In order to control for the most representative sample and against specific biases
experiments usually use a random sampling process. Regrettably, the designer for this research
is a busy and penniless college student who has given himself the task of interesting other
exhausted and busy students to take a break from their hectic, filled schedules to run in a fitness
test they likely would rather never complete. For these reasons, low funding and demanding
target population, the sample was acquired through equal advertisement and public
communications throughout the population augmented with the guarantee of an equal chance to
win a prize. If this study was to be conducted with unlimited funding it ought to follow proper
format for drawing a random Sample.
Typical academic studies aim for a 95+/- „standard confidence limit‟. This means one
can be ninety five percent sure that a re-creation of identical circumstances (in which the
experiment was conducted) would yield the same results within a five percent margin of error.
After establishing that the desired confidence limit would be 95 +/-, one could determine the
appropriate sample size. In order to establish the proper sample size first the „universe‟ or
population of the whole subject pool must be calculated. In Adrian College the active student
population is 1,408 people. One thousand four hundred and eight then becomes number in the
experiment‟s „universe‟. This means that 303 people would make up the sample size. In order
to select the representative sample group of three hundred and three people there are three steps.
First the population should be divided by the sample size in order to create the „skip interval‟, in
this case 1,408 divided by 303 is equal to 4.64 and continues with many decimal places. The
skip interval must be a whole number so the skip interval would become five. Second, a random
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number is selected from a random number generator and use that number to count down the full
population list indicating the first sample subject. For instance assume the random number
selected is seven. One would count down to the seventh name on the list and indicate it as the
first of the sample group. Then third the names should be selected by skip interval. This means
that each name five down from the previous name, starting by counting from name seven, will be
selected until the completion of the group number. This means that the process would continue
until three hundred and three names are selected. Further, the researcher will likely continue to
draw approximately three times the sample side in order to compensate for respondents who do
not conduct the experiment for whatever reason.
In theory, the equity of my efforts toward acquiring subjects is much like a sample
selection that continues to select potential subject through skip interval selection until the entire
„universe‟ is accounted for. It did however fail to generate the required size for statistical
significance as the experiment had twenty seven participants rather than three hundred and three.
This is not entirely useless; however, because a sample size of only sixty five would have been a
90 +/- 10 in accuracy. In either case the random population wide sample selection that was used
did not adhere to sample drawing guidelines and may have caused some bias if only toward those
who read posters or use Facebook.
Preparation and Testing
In conducting this experiment, four researchers (Group R 1) were selected. They were
instructed in gathering data from the fitness test and aiding in the subject numbering process. A
separate group of two of researchers (Group R 2) was instructed in running the Wilson Paterson
Conservatism test. Each Group was briefed on the necessity for confidentiality and
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objectiveness. They were also told that it is imperative they maintain the illusion that the two
trials are separate projects, as if their tests were isolated experiments. In this way, the subjects
will be less apt to suspect that there is any link between the two tests. This precaution should
have prevented skewing of data from subjects who could possibly have comprehended the
objective of the experiment, and attempted to influence the outcome. Still this was not a major
concern as fitness is more or less static during the test and ideology has also been proven to be
so. A description of supporting evidence and existing literature for the static nature of ideology
and fitness can be found both in the literature review and with greater exactness in the conclusion
The Research groups were then split again so that two members from Group 1 could man
the front desk, relatively close to the beep test, in order to assign subject numbers, invite
participants, and award random prizes as an incentive for contributing to the data. The following
was given to the researchers before the experiment and a test run-through was scheduled:
Location: Front of the building near the main desk and the base of the
Set Up: Lay out Prizes, Post-its, and markers. Make a place also for the
reception of the completed surveys.
Process: As subjects arrive greet them and supply them with a number
on a post-it note. Ask them to remember the number and let them
know that they will be the number rather than their name in the
experiment process and results. As subjects finish the process they will
come to hand in their survey. Thank each subject as they hand it in
checking to see if they have a winning number. If the number has been
a randomly selected winner then supply them with a prize.
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Beep Test Crew
Location: First Court Area (Blue)
Set Up: Six cones of the same color help to outline the 20 yard
distance these are placed equidistant along two lines that are 20 yards
apart. At the Ten yard mark place 3 cones of another color to mark the
(Illustration adapted from cited description of Beep testing by author for
The Audio should also be set up and tested so that it can be turned on
and off as well as restarted.
A key is available for this in the offices and has been asked for ahead
Process: Wait until a group larger than seven people are present and
get as many people to do the test at a time since this will be the only
possible kink (time and resources wise) in the experiment. Explain that
the jogging measure called the beep test is very simple. There will be a
verbal indication to start and a chim to indicate when the person
should be past the center cone and a statement/chime indicating what
level they made if they reach the far cone in time. Also explain that
this is in no way a competition and that their data will be anonymous
and confidential. Explain that when they are unable to make an end
line they are finished and the last completed Level and shuttle, in the
form 6.2(representing level and shuttle), for instance, is what they are
to tell the researcher. The results are taken down by number on the
preset pads. Either before the run or as results are given inform the
subject that they must now proceed to the Bulldog Room to take a
very quick survey.
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Location: The Bulldog Room
Set Up: The seating should be altered in such a way that it promotes
people sitting away from one another and makes it hard for each
person to look at another’s paper. I realize not much can be done.
Process: As subjects arrive somewhat haphazardly supply them with
their number from the survey pile. Inform them that they are not to
ask questions or speak with others. Encourage them to sit apart from
others while they finish the form. They ought to just follow the simple
directions and then take the completed form down to the place they
received their number where they may win a prize. [Figure 1]
The event was then publicized to all enrolled students equally through the available „mass
mediums‟ of the flyer distribution system, Facebook event, and painting the Rock which is in the
middle of the campus. Unfortunately this is subpar to the randomized sampling process that
could have been done with funding. Above under the previous subheading, „Preparation and
Testing‟, is a description of the process one ought to use given adequate time and resources. The
flyers where approved via the system and looked like this digitally but where printed on many
available colors of cardstock:
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When the subjects arrived Group R 1 conducted the Beep test and recorded the scoring,
level and shuttle, for each subject by their number.
Beep Test Instructions (Group R2)
(Alternate names: Multistage Fitness Test,
MSFT, 20m Shuttle, Bleep Test)
The multistage fitness test is a commonly used
maximal running aerobic fitness test. It is also
known as the 20 meter shuttle run test, beep or
bleep test among others.
Equipment required: Flat, non-slip surface,
marking cones, 20m measuring tape, cd or
pre-recorded audio tape, cd or tape recorder,
Description: This test involves continuous
running between two lines 20m apart in time
to recorded beeps. For this reason the test is
also often called the 'beep' or 'bleep' test. The
test subjects stand behind one of the lines
facing the second line, and begin running
when instructed by the cd or tape. The speed
at the start is quite slow. The subject
continues running between the two lines,
turning when signaled by the recorded beeps.
After about one minute, a sound indicates an
increase in speed, and the beeps will be
closer together. This continues each minute
(level). If the line is not reached in time for
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each beep, the subject must run to the line
turn and try to catch up with the pace within
2 more „beeps‟. Also, if the line is reached
before the beep sounds, the subject must wait
until the beep sounds. The test is stopped if
the subject fails to reach the line (within 2
meters) for two consecutive ends. There are
several versions of the test, but one
commonly used version has an initial running
velocity of 8.5 km/hr, which increases by 0.5
km/hr each minute (Rob, 1998). [Figure 4]
A simple record of Level and Shuttle was kept. Upon finishing the test the group was asked to
move to the bulldog room in order to participate in a separate experimental test by a different research
group. Upon entering the room they were greeted by Group R2, the survey was conducted, and the sheets
were labeled by subject number.
As indicated before the variable physical fitness is being defined and measured in terms
of respiratory health, specifically VO2 max. The choice to use VO2 max was based on its
universal popularity and consistence as well as its ability to predict longevity, resistance to
disease, especially obesity, and ability to complete daily tasks. The brevity of the test is also a
nice quality. Academic agree on the benefits of cardiovascular/reparatory health which is
directly indicated by VO2 max scores (Leger, Merceir, Gadoury, Lambert, 1988; Lobelo, Ruiz,
2007). It is also convenient that the human limit of VO2 max score is approximately 100 and the
obvious minimum for a dead person is zero. This means that as a scale ranging from unhealthy
to fit, 0 to 100, VO2 max scores will match up very well in comparison with the continuum of 0
to 100 that the Wilson & Patterson Conservatism Scale will provide. In this scale zero is most
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Liberal while 100 is most conservative. Meaning a subject‟s data might read: Subject One,
Ideology 45 (slightly liberal), Fitness VO2 max 52.90744140176666.
Wilson & Patterson
As mentioned previously the Wilson Patterson Scale has been selected for its
academically bolstered validity, reproducibility, and consistency. It also is convenient as a
truncated survey in terms of time and produces a functional number. With considerable interest
and use in academia since its publication in 1968, the scale provides a practical way of avoiding
subject bias as well as a clever way to rate subjects conservatism numerically. Item numbers 33
and 39 were re-worded in order to Americanize the political concept of the terms. Number thirty
three was originally „Apartheid‟ however the demographic nature of my subject group suggests
that a response would be invalid to this term since it refers to a relatively unknown, in this
geographic region and generation, governmental abuse and genocide. I choose a widely
publicized case which was politically similar that being „Darfur‟ as a replacement. Number
thirty nine was also a term lost on American college students. The term, „Birching‟, was
replaced with „Caning‟ due in large part to a recent and widely publicized incident in which an
American teenager vandalized some property in Singapore and was sentence to caning. Number
twenty eight was also a very relatively misunderstood term for the current generation.
Unfortunately, there is not a known substitute term which would need to be a political battle
inclusive of many different political concerns.
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Wilson & Patterson Scale (Group R1)
Which of the following do you favor or believe in?
(Circle 'Yes' or 'No'. If absolutely uncertain, circle ?)
There are no right or wrong answers; do not discuss; just give your first reaction.
Answer all items
1. Death Penalty Yes ? No 26. Computer music Yes ? No
2. Evolution theory Yes ? No 27. Chastity Yes ? No
3. School uniforms Yes ? No 28. Fluoridation Yes ? No
4. Striptease shows Yes ? No 29. Royalty Yes ? No
5. Sabbath Observance Yes ? No 30. Women Judges Yes ? No
6. Beatniks Yes ? No 31. Conventional clothing Yes ? No
7. Patriotism Yes ? No 32. Teenage Drivers Yes ? No
8. Modern art Yes ? No 33. Darfur Yes ? No
9. Self denial Yes ? No 34. Nudist camps Yes ? No
10. Working mothers Yes ? No 35. Church authority Yes ? No
11. Horoscopes Yes ? No 36. Disarmament Yes ? No
12. Birth control Yes ? No 37. Censorship Yes ? No
13. Military drill Yes ? No 38. White lies Yes ? No
14. Co-education Yes ? No 39. Caning Yes ? No
15. Divine law Yes ? No 40. Mixed marriages Yes ? No
16. Socialism Yes ? No 41. Strict rules Yes ? No
17. White superiority Yes ? No 42. Jazz Yes ? No
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18. Cousin marriage Yes ? No 43. Straightjackets Yes ? No
19. Moral training Yes ? No 44. Casual living Yes ? No
20. Suicide Yes ? No 45. Learning Latin Yes ? No
21. Chaperones Yes ? No 46. Divorce Yes ? No
22. Legalized abortion Yes ? No 47. Inborn conscience Yes ? No
23. Empire-building Yes ? No 48. Coloured immigration Yes ? No
24. Student pranks Yes ? No 49. Bible truth Yes ? No
25. Licensing laws Yes ? No 50. Pyjama parties Yes ? No
(Wilson & Patterson, 1988)
The subjects were asked to carry their completed surveys to the front desk and hand them
in. They were simultaneously thanked for their participation. As the sheets were handed in the
number was scanned and randomly selected numbers that matched were awarded with a prize.
Prizes included candy bars and gift cards. Upon completion of the experiment the data was
collected and analyzed. In order to create practical numbers the data must be clarified it terms of
scale, on a continuum. The surveys, which are a series of fifty [yes/no/?] questions, can be
operationalized to indicate conservatism as a number between zero and one hundred.
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Scoring is very simple for this questionnaire.
Response Response Response
Yes ? No
Odd Numbered questions 2 1 0
Even Numbered questions 0 1 2
Add up the values for the odd and even questions
The higher the score, the more conservative the attitudes.
100 being most Conservative 0 being most Liberal
The results of the Wilson & Patterson survey are exemplary of the ideological makeup of
Adrian College students. One of the most notable patterns was the lack of outliers, in other
words the low number of far right and hard left subjects. This tight grouping around the more
neutral center of the scale is indicative of a substantial moderate population in the college. It is
also clear that more subjects were on the conservative side that the liberal section. This was
expected given the immense Conservative population in the city of Adrian and the conservative
leanings of Adrian College‟s administration. This result also falls in line with recent evidence
that very liberal professors have little effect on their student‟s political leanings. These results
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could also be a cyclical result of the findings of the experiment. Adrian College has just recently
in the last two and one half years, recruited student athletes heavily in a bold strategy to bring
direct returns to the college. The investment strategy seems to have worked very well increasing
student‟s achievements both academically and athletically. This project, the Renaissance, has
created a disproportionate student population of primarily athletes. If Conservatism truly does
cause physical fitness, and fitness is as static as recent research implies, then individuals
prepared to participate in taxing varsity sports would also be physically fit students and therefore
likely Conservative. The distributions and patterns explained can be viewed in the following
figures, a bar graph and an area graph.
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The level and shuttle numbers generated from the subject‟s completion of the beep test
can be transformed into a VO2 max score between zero and 70.79020797426175. A VO2max is
the maximum amount of oxygen in milliliters one can use in one minute per kilogram of body
weight (Kolata, 2002; Mac, 1997). This indicates fitness best considering longevity and activity
conditioning. It is also the truest standardized measure for lung capacity and heart usage. An
online calculator for VO2 max calculation based on beep test scored, at url:
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[http://www.topendsports.com/testing/beepcalc.htm], was used to generate the number in the
form, # ml/kg/min. The calculator uses an average of the ages that were tested rather than using
an actual age in the equation. That is the new formula represents a module which appears as the
VO2 max = 5.857 and the highest speed achieved in test - 19.458.
Group R 1
Beep Test Score Calculator: 20 meter Shuttle Run Test
To calculate your predicted VO2max from your 20 meter shuttle
run test result, enter your level and number of shuttles for that level
in the boxes below, and then click the "calculate" button.
For example, if you scored 8-5 on the beep test, you would enter 8
in the first box, and 5 in the second.
Enter your level (e.g., 8):
Enter your number of shuttles (e.g., 5):
Press the button to see your predicted VO2max score:
Your result (ml/kg/min):
The above calculator was developed from the published tables in
Ramsbottom et al. (1988) "A progressive shuttle run test to
estimate maximal oxygen uptake." British Journal of Sports
Medicine 22: 141-5. The calculator appears to be accurate to
within 0.1 ml/kg/min of the published values.
VO2 max = 31.025 + (3.238 × velocity) - (3.248 × age ) +
(0.1536 × age × velocity)
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The higher the score the more fit the subject is. The average score is approximately 40.
The results may be affected by the differing levels of abilities between sexes which were not
taken into account. For instance the average for a 20 year old woman is closer to an average of
thirty while the same age man should average at approximately forty.
Review of the VO2 max scores allows one to deduce that Adrian College has a very
average distribution ranging from over 22 to under 71. The scale is relatively diverse stretching
from an indication of low health to near peak physical ability. Between the VO2 max scores 45
and 65 lie the majority of the population. This suggests that students are in fact largely fit which
falls in line with predictions made earlier about the student demographic being healthy and
athletic. The bar graph below illustrates these patterns and allows for your interpretation.
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The data was then compared and subject‟s scores were plotted on a graph revealing patterns in
the relationship over the continuums. Rather than a haphazard or random arrangement, the
points revealed a positive correlation between conservatism and fitness such that subjects with
high scores in fitness also tended to have high scores in the conservative scale. This data is
preliminary and only suggestive because of the afore mentioned weakness namely, stunted
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The test should be repeated, to verify results, but this exploratory design may draw
interest to the project from which funds or support could be acquired. Substantial tests can then
be conducted with much larger subject groups and in a manner which controls for the noted
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The findings of said exploratory experiment indicate a positive relationship between
conservatism and physical fitness. In other words conservatives are more fit than liberals,
according to the experiments preliminary results. This conclusion is relatively controversial, as
it implies that based on inherent ideology one is either rewarded with longevity and health or
punished with vulnerability to obesity and disease. It begs the question: “Are there further
interesting differences between Conservatives and Liberals?” The experiment is reproducible
and ought to be repeated in differing settings in order to apply it to less biased populations. In
this way the results could be better generalized as a college student population is made up of a
specific demographic group not applicable to the average world population. As previously
mentioned the true value of this result is that it primes a plethora of new research staring with
causal analysis and using the results throughout multiple hard science academic subjects.
Research maintains that ideology is not simply a loosely chosen opinion but rather an
biologically bound consistent personality trait which effects cognitive strategies, problem
solving, political „opinions‟ and may very well be genetic (DeAngeles, 2004; Graham, 1977;
Wenner, 2007). The nature of ideology indicates that it is reliably consistent from a young age,
possibly conception; ruling out the prospect that physical fitness causes ideology (A.
Chirumbolo, 2002; J. T. Jost, J. Glaser, A. W. Kruglanski, & F. Sulloway, 2003a, 2003b; M.
Kemmelmeier, 1997; Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford, 1950). To complicate
the scenario the bulk of medical research concludes that youth fitness projects adult fitness,
specifically through massive advantages against diseases and in gained respiratory health. Ergo,
typical physical health is also elusive as a variable in a causal relationship to ideology. Given
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that a larger study is done confirming my relational results, a correlation exists between the two
variables which remain to be explained.
Likely a third variable links the two in a causal „X → Y → Z‟ relationship. As political
ideology has been shown to have more inherent and behavioral qualities it is logical to presume
that political ideology equates to the „X‟ in this function. Note that the given model is perhaps
far too simple to explain the true relationship and may include many connective variables like
„Y‟. Subsequent research should evaluate the causal relationships between potential connective
variables. For example, in a future responsive study, Conservative political ideology may be
proven to cause a more rigid schedule as a cognitive strategy for ones daily or weekly exercise
regiment. This defined form of „consistency‟ and „rigidity‟ has been shown in previous studies
to cause higher levels of physical fitness (Feilding, Katula, Miller, 2007). The completion of
such a study would link the variables and explain at least a part of the relationship. Clarifying
the relationship however, is muddled by a number of alternate plausible connective concepts
including, conservative happiness and contentment as an indicator of fitness, conservative
economic status and the ability to buy health, and quite probably several divergent explanations
which have not been expressly revealed due to the infancy of this research area.
Conservatives Happy/Happiness Healthy
Perhaps happiness is the link between ideology and fitness. Some have claimed that
conservatives are in general happier or more content than liberals, as a result of their ideological
mental strategies (Bryner, 2008). Other researchers determined that contentment and happiness
cause healthiness and pristine fitness levels (CTV, 2008). "We found strong evidence that both
happiness and life satisfaction have an effect on our indicators of health," Siahpush said (2008).
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These variables seem to connect and could be easily tested for a indirect causal relationship
meaning that one could test for conservatism causing fitness through happiness. Basic science
does not seem to endorse simple happiness as a major contributor to life fitness however so this
is possibly just a small part of the variables relationships.
Conservatives Wealthy/Wealthy Healthy
It is common knowledge that most conservative policies and ideals are based on a higher
level of economic support. Also stereotypically, Republicans in America and conservatives
elsewhere, have a higher economic status, on average, than liberals. The credibility of these
views should be tested empirically. Research indicates that nations, as well as individuals, are
able to purchase health to an extent (Davidson, 2005; Ichiro, 2001). Perhaps the benefits of
fiscal security are the link that allows conservatives the advantages and opportunities to be more
fit. In this case the connective variable would be economic status and financial freedom. As
economic scenarios differ vastly and quickly throughout history and between geographic
locations this model appears to be less likely than the other two. This does not rule the model
out and it may very well be that each variable is a contributor. I am referring to the possibility
that each variable could be responsible for carrying a percentage of the resulting fitness.
Conservative Rigid/Rigid Healthy
As previously mentioned it has been shown that conservatives are more rigid in their
planned activities (Kemmelmeier, 2007). Other researchers published findings that indicate
consistency in fitness schedule will cause higher levels of health and fitness (Feilding, Katula,
Miller, 2007). This seems a likely connective variable to test because it displays a known and
definitive characteristic of conservatives that has been praised as fitness catalyst for a long time.
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Subsequent to a more reliable and statistically significant study of the relationship between
ideology and physical fitness, an experiment on the causality between political ideology and
consistent physical exercise is in order. The most plausible course of action would be to propose
an pragmatic experiment with the aim of establishing the three variable causal bond.
Causality Research Outline
This is a proposed design for an experiment which is yet to be preformed which would be
used to determine whether a causal relationship between conservatism, rigidity, and fitness
exists. Hypothesis: Conservative political ideology causes consistency in personal physical
exercise. Subjects ought to be randomly selected and tested for political ideology which can be
done with the Wilson/Paterson scale. The results should form two groups of subjects, those who
are considered to be significantly conservative and those who are considered to be not
significantly conservative. The later will represent a control group. The actions of subject
should be recorded candidly in their everyday life in order to acquire data on which subjects have
exercise schedules, how closely they follow them if they have them, what choices they make in
diet, and how consistently they follow their described health/fitness objectives. In the initial
experiments funding may be lacking. It is more practical to select a location where random
people live near to one another so that opportunity, age, and diet selection could be automatically
controlled for. This method would allow data collection to be far less expensive and more
controlled in terms of options. Examples of such locations include colleges, camps, retirement
homes, and communal living. Data should be collected at least on a daily basis and a record of
consistency and rigidity to fitness planning can be retained. These records could then be
standardized and evaluated with respect to physically productive planned activity. A suggested
P a g e | 32
method would be having an uninvolved panel decide whether the person adhered to their fitness
objectives in a day when they review the researcher‟s written report. The judgment can then be
translated into a number representative of consistency. Simple biveriate analysis ought to reveal
whether or not the „variable‟ of conservatism has caused a mental rigidity to fitness programs.
The portrayed blueprints for study could potentially establish a causal relationship and
answer with certainty the original research question. In layman‟s terms this answer would likely
be: “Yes, conservatives are more physically fit. They are more fit because they stick to a fitness
plan with rigidity.” Should the experiment suggest that conservatism causes adherence to
exercise programs a underlying three variable relationship would be established. This could
confirm the hypothesis correlation from the ideology and fitness exploratory experiment through
definitive explanation. According to a thorough study conducted by Fielding, Katula, and Miller
in 2007 adherence to physical activity causes better health and higher fitness. This study serves
to Connect „Y‟ to „Z‟. In this case, the relationship between conservatism and fitness can be
described in terms of mental rigidity. In other words that projected result would reveal that
conservatives stick to an exercise plan and that such adherence raises their fitness level, proving
that indirectly conservatism, however inherent, causes higher fitness levels.
Political ideology is positively related to physical fitness, according to the experiment conducted
of Adrian College students. This study was contrived in order to evaluate whether or not a
relationship existed between the variables in the research question. That is a correlation was
found in order to justify the preparation of an empirical test for ideology to indirectly cause
P a g e | 33
fitness. In order to accomplish this, a number of steps were executed and described. First an
investigation of relevant literature was completed by delving into issues involving accurate
measures of fitness, the nature of ideology, measures of conservatism, differences between
ideologies, etc. Upon examination factors where defined to become variables for measurement.
Simultaneously the research question was developed and manipulated in order to create two
separate but useful hypotheses, one causal and one relational.
The logical start was the correlation study which was developed using classic
experimentation methods. Using the most suitable measurements of the variables, (political
ideology and physical fitness) “Wilson & Patterson Conservatism Scale” integer and VO2 max
quantity. The experiment was then planed conducted and reviewed establishing data to assess.
Analysis of the data revealed information about the sample‟s demographic physically and
politically. More importantly it concluded that a correlation did exist such that conservatism and
physical fitness are bound in a positive relationship. The obvious corollary to this observation
was to explore the feasible models for causality, which connect the variables in a causal manner.
Three likely relationships were briefly discussed and one was selected as for assessment.
Rigidity as a connective variable is set for an analysis again using classic experimental
techniques and planning. Much further research has been proposed and discussed however the
focus of the study is proof indicating a correlation between fitness and ideology. In review, the
study recounts the exploratory experiment which concludes with a positive relationship linking
conservative ideology and physical health. Future research is proposed which could confirm a
causal relationship and open the door to more discoveries. It is the intention of this study to
inspire supplementary knowledge particularly on the physiological nature of human factions and
its ideological consequences.
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