John Mayer, a professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire, says each person creates a mental world and these mental models guide how people perceive the world and what people prefer or abhor.
"Our votes are an expression not only of which candidates are best -- the Republicans, Democrats, or those candidates of another party -- but also of our own way of perceiving and thinking about the world and what is good or bad about it," Mayer says in a statement.
Certain personality characteristics generally influence whether a person is a liberal or a conservative. Mayer says liberals often:
-- View social inequities as unjust requiring reform.
-- Prefer atheists, tattoos, foreign films and poetry.
-- Exhibit creativity, which entails the capacity to see solutions to problems, and empathy toward others.
Mayers says conservatives often:
-- Are more likely to be a first-born, who identify more with their parents, predisposing them to a greater investment in authority and a preference for conservatism.
-- Have a fear of death, reflecting a need for security.
-- Have the ability to meet their own and others' demands.