The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reports that a study to be presented at a conference of the American Psychological Society in Chicago tomorrow will reveal that the sight of George W. Bush’s face provokes aggression — and not only among his political opponants.
The study was conducted by Sara Konrath und Norbert Schwarz of the University of Michigan and Brian P. Meier of North Dakota State University. One part of their research compared reactions to pictures of Bush with those of Bill Clinton. This allowed them to find that while Bush’s visage makes political opponants angry consistantly, it also affects his supporters, but only so long as there is no political opponant to compare him with.
I expect the right will spin this as evidence of irrational “Bush hatred” among liberals, while the left will focus on conservatives’ lukewarm support which only grows in the face of opposition. Either way, it’s pretty damn funny.
Stragely, I find Tony Blair also provokes this reaction in me. I make sure not to keep heavy objects nearby when watching him on TV.
Update: The abstract says:
If people hold strong beliefs about political leaders’ traits, exposure to leaders may color perceptions of unrelated stimuli. In four studies we found i) automatic associations between President Bush and aggressive thoughts and ii) higher levels of perceived aggression in ambiguously described others after seeing President Bush, especially for liberals.