PDA

View Full Version : Study shows liberals and conservatives think different - duh



bob
10th September 07, 05:45 AM
Brain study shows a sharp political divide

Research finds conservatives are firm in their ideas, liberals more open to ambiguity




Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.

Scientists at New York University and the University of California, Los Angeles showed through a simple experiment to be reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information.

Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments, whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. The latest study found those traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions.



The results showed "there are two cognitive styles - a liberal style and a conservative style," said UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, who was not connected to the latest research.

Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." Scientists instructed them to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer monitor and to refrain from tapping when they saw a W.
M appeared four times more frequently than W, conditioning participants to press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter.

Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in their anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said. Liberals and conservatives were equally accurate in recognizing M.

Researchers obtained the same results when they repeated the experiment in reverse, asking another set of participants to tap when they saw W.
Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at the Institute of Personality and Social Research, at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study, said results "provided an elegant demonstration that individual differences on a conservative-liberal dimension are strongly related to brain activity."

Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times more likely than conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts and were 2.2 times more likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.
Based on the results, Sulloway said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

"There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major revolutions in science," said Sulloway, who has written about the history of science and has studied behavioral differences between conservatives and liberals.

Lead author David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University, cautioned that the study looked at a narrow range of human behavior and it would be a mistake to conclude that one political orientation was better than another. The tendency of conservatives to block distracting information could be a good thing depending on the situation, he said.

Political orientation, he noted, occurs along a spectrum, and positions on specific issues, such as taxes, are influenced by many factors, including education and wealth. Some liberals oppose higher taxes, and some conservatives support abortion.

Still, he acknowledged that a meeting of the minds between conservatives and liberals looked difficult given the study results.

"Does this mean liberals and conservatives are never going to agree? Maybe it suggests one reason why they tend not to get along," Amodio said.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.brain10sep10,0,3230840.story

Heard this on the radio this morning. One of the researchers pointed out that it didn't necessarily mean that liberals were better because they had more adaptable thought patterns because there are plenty of situations where single minded resolve without being prone to distraction is appropriate.

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
10th September 07, 05:52 AM
One of the researchers pointed out that it didn't necessarily mean that liberals were better because they had more adaptable thought patterns because there are plenty of situations where single minded resolve without being prone to distraction is appropriate.

Because there's such a thing as a single radical solution to all the world's problems.

bob
10th September 07, 05:58 AM
Because there's such a thing as a single radical solution to all the world's problems.

No, but certain problems, or parts of problems, require different approaches. An effective team often requires people who approach problems in different ways.

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
10th September 07, 06:09 AM
No, but certain problems, or parts of problems, require different approaches. An effective team often requires people who approach problems in different ways.

Conservative ideology is, how can we take the old ways and make modern society conform to them? Right now conservatives yearn for a return to 19th century capitalism and Victorian morality. In the 19th century conservatives yearned for a return to pre-capilist economies and were (and still often are) antagonistic to new scientific advances. I don't see any future where the politics of the past are a reasonable solution.

Liberal ideology is, society is changed, now how can we modify those retarded old methods to work?

bob
10th September 07, 06:35 AM
Conservative ideology is, how can we take the old ways and make modern society conform to them? Right now conservatives yearn for a return to 19th century capitalism and Victorian morality. In the 19th century conservatives yearned for a return to pre-capilist economies and were (and still often are) antagonistic to new scientific advances. I don't see any future where the politics of the past are a reasonable solution.

Liberal ideology is, society is changed, now how can we modify old those retarded old methods to work?

I think you've described a fairly narrow interpretation of political and social conservatism but I doubt arguing the point is likely to get us anywhere.

Your typical political conservative could (and often do) easily make the argument that parts of 'the left' are stuck in the past and opposed to progress and science when it comes to a matter such as environmental conservation. Which leads me to question the validity of the study somewhat.

How does one describe the thought patterns of someone who is fiscally and ecologically conservative, socially progressive, religiously progressive and politically conservative - or any combination of the above?

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
10th September 07, 07:02 AM
Your typical political conservative could (and often do) easily make the argument that parts of 'the left' are stuck in the past and opposed to progress and science when it comes to a matter such as environmental conservation. Which leads me to question the validity of the study somewhat.

Left =/ liberal

I'll concede that conservatives have had a positive effect. Like, uh, there would be a lot more people in the world without them!

Cullion
10th September 07, 07:38 AM
Is the separation here really a question of political affiliation, or more the case that people who more dogmatically accept the perceived 'traditional' views of whatever culture they happen to live in happen to be republican-voting christians in the US?

They could simply have found a correlation between 'willingness to have a different political opinion from one's parents/grandparents' and 'flexible thinking'.

In the US I would expect the 'traditional' cultural position to be a blend of centre-right militaristic republicanism blended with judeo-christian ethical views. In other societies somebody with the 'conservative' personality type might be identified with a quite different political ethos.

The distinction here is that a left-liberal atheist who thought that way because they'd been raised in a european 'liberal' society might get 'conservative' results on this test and a libertarian (who holds some views that might get them classified as a 'conservative' in the US, at least on an economic axis) might score like a 'liberal' on this test, because if they grew up in a left-leaning culture like France, the UK between 1945 and 1975 or modern Germany, they would be the ones more willing to 'go against the herd'.

bushi_no_ki
12th September 07, 02:44 PM
Continuum is not the right word for describing political views. It's more like a grid. Are you more of a social liberal, but fiscal conservative? I am, in most respects. People have their rights, and the government should not be a huge monster regulating every aspect of business. Or are you more authoritarian, with socialist beliefs? These things change. You can be authoritarian but have fiscally conservative views. You can be more independent personally, but have socialist views on the economy.

ICY
12th September 07, 04:44 PM
Fuck this.

Zub-Zub
12th September 07, 04:57 PM
In regard to the article, I am wondering why it took such a deep neurological study of the brain for scientists to arrive at this conclusion. It begs a bold, colossal


WTF DUH!!!!

Olorin
12th September 07, 05:10 PM
I think you've described a fairly narrow interpretation of political and social conservatism but I doubt arguing the point is likely to get us anywhere.

Actually it might. The problem I see with this study is that it assumes that Modern American Conservatism (the political ideology), and conservatism as an idea, are the same thing. It also assumes that the modern political concept of liberalism is the same as a dictionary definition of the word.

I know of lots of things that Conservatives (the ideology/political movement) want to change about society, culture, economics, etc and of course their are things that they want to conserve. The same goes for liberals.

If this study were accurate the scientist should be able to take students who have not given their political ideology and figure it out based on how they score on the test.

But all of this ignores that political affiliation tends to follow the economic, social, gender, and ethnic makeup of the individual. As far as political ideology, who you are is more important than how your brain works.

.

Olorin
12th September 07, 05:21 PM
"Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said. Liberals and conservatives were equally accurate in recognizing M."

Oh and of course their could be other reasons why liberals react so strongly to the letter W...

http://ronwade.freeservers.com/Bush2005Sticker.JPG

Zendetta
12th September 07, 05:23 PM
LOL.

Another way to interpret the data is that "W" decreases the brain actvity of conservatives.

heheh.

Olorin
12th September 07, 05:27 PM
Another way to interpret the data is that "W" decreases the brain actvity of conservatives.

heheh.

Shut it hippie!

PS

Did you know that when Clinton left the White House his staffers removed all the W keys from the computers as a joke. Libs just hate that letter, and when they see it pop up they jump on it. I think that explains their accuracy rating.

NoMan
13th September 07, 12:58 AM
I think that in America conservatism is going to be identified with the established regime and its policies. I don't think most people would nuance' it to say, "I'm more of an Eisenhower-type conservative, against the military-industrial complex, favor balanced budgets, taxation of the rich (it was 91% in Eisenhower's day), but oppossed to social programs and government interference." Some people who call themselves 'liberal' mean the Adam Smith/David Hume types. I don't think this bias would hit too high in the average population sample though, not many people think of David Hume when you say liberal or Eisenhower when you say conservative. Conservative now means Ronald Reagan, (and damn that traiterous Bush the Sr. for betraying him!), and most people identify with the heavy Evangelical/neo-con finger-banging party that is the current Republican party as "conservatism".

Sun Wukong
14th September 07, 03:33 AM
Shut it hippie!

PS

Did you know that when Clinton left the White House his staffers removed all the W keys from the computers as a joke.

It shows we have a sense of humor.

Zendetta
14th September 07, 01:49 PM
Shut it hippie!

Heheh. Truth hurts don't it?

BTW: Ronald Wilson Reagan = 666. His wife was an astrologer for a reason!

Zub-Zub
14th September 07, 03:05 PM
.......BTW: Ronald Wilson Reagan = 666.....

Notice he also has a "W" for a middle initial. Ronald Dubya Reagan.

DAYoung
14th September 07, 04:59 PM
Umm.

I...er...agree with Cullion.