Sometimes, I think that psychological researchers just do it to get a laugh.

Take the finding, which will be published in this month’s issue of Science, to the effect that – as Fox News put it – easily startled people are more likely to be political conservatives.

Yes, you heard me right. The channel that turned the War on Terror into a ratings brand says their core audience is a bunch of scaredy-cats.

The findings are based on a study in Nebraska, where participants first answered a series of questions to determine their political allegiances, then shown threatening images while the intensity of their responses were measured.

The result comes hot on the heels of a similar study, reported in New Scientist at the beginning of the year, in which academics found that liberals are likely to be open-minded and free-spirited, while conservatives are dogmatic and routine-loving.

They needed a study to figure that out?

Putting the two together of course, one might conclude that American conservatives are feeling nervous because their political leaders have been hyping Terror Alerts for the last seven years.

That, or they trusted their pension to that nice young salesman from Lehman Brothers.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.