Are liberals their own worst enemy? A new study suggests that may be the case, with its examination of why some political movements succeed and others fail.

The study showed that liberals overestimate the uniqueness of their political beliefs and that they are eager to have views that set them apart from others -- characteristics that might undermine their ability to maintain a cohesive political movement.

The psychologists behind the study said their findings may explain why the Tea Party movement succeeded in gaining lasting traction, while "Occupy Wall Street" fizzled out.

“The Tea Party movement developed a succinct set of goals in its incipient stages and effectively mobilized its members toward large-scale social change quite quickly,” study co-author Chadly Stern, a doctoral student in psychology at New York University, said in a written statement. “In contrast, despite its popularity, the liberal Occupy Wall Street movement struggled to reach agreement on their collective mission and ultimately failed to enact large-scale social change.”

For the study, the psychologists surveyed 300 men and women between the ages of 18 and 82. The participants indicated agreement or disagreement with political statements, such as "I support labor unions," and non-political statements, such as "I like coffee." They were also asked to estimate how many people with the same political ideology would agree with their beliefs and preferences.

What did the study show?

Liberals displayed "truly false uniqueness," underestimating the number of other liberals who shared their same beliefs. Moderates and conservatives showed "truly false consensus." That means they overestimated agreement with their beliefs and preferences among their peers, thinking that their own views were more common than they really were.

These effects extended across the board, regardless of whether the questions were about politics or a cup o' joe.

The researchers said the effects can be explained by the different psychological desires seen in liberals and conservatives.

"We found that liberals and conservatives differ on the basic desire to feel unique, in that liberals have a greater desire to feel unique and conservatives have a greater desire to conform," Stern told The Huffington Post in an email.

In addition to explaining why certain liberal movements, like "Occupy," might struggle to maintain solidarity among its members, the study suggests that conservatives, too, can shoot themselves in the foot.

“Conservative social movements might initially capitalize on perceiving agreement to galvanize their ranks," Stern said in the statement, "but their inaccurate perceptions could impair group progress when actual agreement is necessary.”

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • "I have flown twice over Mount St. Helens out on our West Coast. I'm not a scientist and I don't know the figures, but I have a suspicion that that one little mountain has probably released more sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere of the world than has been released in the last ten years of automobile driving or things of that kind that people are so concerned about." - President Ronald Reagan, 1980 Not quite. Cars emit about 81,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per day, while Mount St. Helens emitted only about 2,000 tons.

  • "The internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a truck. It's a series of tubes." -Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), 2006 The "series of tubes" phrase subsequently became a pop cultural catchphrase--it even has its own <a href="" target="_hplink">Wikipedia page</a> and mentioned in the <a href=" series of tubes" target="_hplink">Urban Dictionary</a>.

  • "And sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good, things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not." - former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska), 2008 The common fruit fly is one of the most commonly used organisms in genetic research. Discoveries such as sex-linked inheritance and techniques such as gene mapping are a result of such research.

  • "Information is moving--you know, nightly news is one way, of course, but it's also moving through the blogosphere and through the Internets." - President George W. Bush, 2007 The former president went on to use the word "Internets" two more times in public.

  • "Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?" -Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California), when asked whether the U.S. climate policy should focus on reducing carbon emissions. Rainforests actually absorb far more carbon dioxide than they emit.

  • "Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus." - Rep. Paul Broun (R-Georgia), 2009, at a debate over the Clean Energy and Security Act. Many researchers point to a decline in Arctic sea ice, an increase in droughts, and changing rain and snow patterns as signs of climate change.

  • "What the science says is that temperatures peaked out globally in 1998. So we've gone for 10-plus years where the temperatures have gone down." - Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), 2009 in an interview with conservative radio show host Jay Weber. The mean global temperature has in fact been increasing since 1998.

  • "Mars is essentially in the same orbit [as Earth]....Mars is somewhat the same distance from the sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe." - Dan Quayle, former vice president, commenting on President George H.W. Bush's Space Exploration Initiative as quoted in <em>This New Ocean</em> by William E. Burrows. Actually, Mars completes an orbital revolution around the sun about every 1.88 Earth years, according to NASA.

  • "If it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." - Rep. Todd Akin (R-Missouri), 2012 In fact, women can become pregnant from rape.

  • "All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell." -Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) 2012 Broun, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, is a doctor, and would have been taught many of the generally accepted principles of evolution and embryology in medical school.