Science Suggests Conservatives May Make Better Defensive Backs

Hear me out on this one: when recruiting the defensive backs they hope will sign with the Georgia Bulldogs in February 2012, our coaches should ask those prospects for whom they intend to vote in November 2012. All other things being equal, the Red and Black should offer scholarships to the corners and safeties who plan to vote Republican.

No, I’m not getting political. I’m getting scientific. Consider the results of a study by political scientists and psychologists at the University of Nebraska:

The researchers asked 72 undergraduates to look at a drawing of a face that looked to the left or right of a computer screen and then press a key when a black dot appeared. Despite being told the face would not predict the dot’s location, liberals took 10 to 20 milliseconds longer---about 5 percent---to notice the dot when the face looked away from it instead of toward it, indicating that they had followed the face’s gaze. Conservatives did not---they took the same amount of time regardless of where the face looked.

Study co-author Kevin Smith says one possible explanation is that "liberals are more sensitive to social cues," such as where someone looks, whereas conservatives value individual independence. Whatever the explanation, the results bolster the idea that political dispositions depend in part on differences in how people use social information.

Leaving aside the politically loaded conclusion drawn by Kevin Smith, and leaving aside the question whether it’s the same Kevin Smith who mde the Jay and Silent Bob movies, the results of this study suggest that, for whatever reason, a quarterback who looks off a defensive back is more likely to fool a liberal player in the secondary than a conservative one. Generally speaking, we should be politically neutral when recruiting players, but at least one scientific study suggests that we would do better to look for UGA DBs in the GOP.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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