Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

The party in your brain
MedicalXPress.com ^ | Feb 13, 2013 | University of Exeter

Posted on 02/17/2013 1:43:47 PM PST by ConservativeMind

A team of political scientists and neuroscientists has shown that liberals and conservatives use different parts of the brain when they make risky decisions, and these regions can be used to predict which political party a person prefers. The new study suggests that while genetics or parental influence may play a significant role, being a Republican or Democrat changes how the brain functions.

Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-02-party-brain.html#jCp

(Excerpt) Read more at medicalxpress.com ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine; Society
KEYWORDS:
I can see it now. Liberals are thinking, "If this bet goes bad, who can I co-opt to either cover my loss or blame." Conservatives think, "If this bet goes bad, I'm going to have to suck it up and make back that money through extra effort."

It fits the study, perfectly.

1 posted on 02/17/2013 1:43:49 PM PST by ConservativeMind
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
conservatives think their way through a problem, RATS feel their way through it...
2 posted on 02/17/2013 1:55:00 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -ww- NO Pity for the LAZY)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
Since brain wiring influences behavior and behavior re-wires behavior, many will dismiss this as a chicken or egg question, but I wonder if predisposition to liberalism vs. conservatism is hereditary. Are some people just hardwired at birth to be knee-jerk radicals or knee-jerk reactionaries?

Anyway, studies like this go to show something that I've always believed to be true: that people adopt their political beliefs for mostly irrational and emotional reasons, and only try to justify them rationally after the fact (and I'm not being holier than thou, that's applies to me too)! The only difference is in what emotions are set off and what sets them off.

3 posted on 02/17/2013 1:55:40 PM PST by ek_hornbeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
socialism-illustrated-300x201-1 photo socialism-illustrated-300x201-1-1.jpg
4 posted on 02/17/2013 2:03:00 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gorush
 photo socialism.jpg
5 posted on 02/17/2013 2:06:18 PM PST by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
In fact, brain activity in these two regions alone can be used to predict whether a person is a Democrat or Republican with 82.9% accuracy. By comparison, the longstanding traditional model in political science, which uses the party affiliation of a person's mother and father to predict the child's affiliation, is only accurate about 69.5% of the time. And another model based on the differences in brain structure distinguishes liberals from conservatives with only 71.6% accuracy.

Now I wonder, does that 69.5% accuracy for parent-child party affiliation also apply to kids who have been adopted? To see how much of this is hereditary vs. environmental, we'd have to do a study of adopted children raised in households with political views that are the opposite of their birth parents'.

6 posted on 02/17/2013 2:10:08 PM PST by ek_hornbeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ek_hornbeck
Since brain wiring influences behavior and behavior re-wires behavior, many will dismiss this as a chicken or egg question

That should have been "Since brain wiring influences behavior and behavior re-wires THE BRAIN, many will dismiss..." I really need to start using the preview feature!

7 posted on 02/17/2013 2:10:35 PM PST by ek_hornbeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: ek_hornbeck

Having been adopted at the age of three and having lived for a very long time, I found this article and discussion very interesting. But I think there are more things that need to be considered, such as generational issues, the part of the country where you were raised and the sign under which you were born.

My adoptive parents were staunch Democrats - but the old style - and voted Democrat until they died several years ago. I don’t remember that politics was ever discussed much in our family when I was growing up. As an adult, it only caused strife so I quit talking about it. Raised as a Southern Baptist in a very hard working family. I have retained their strong value system throughout my life as it relates to church, work, education and how my children were raised but have always voted Republican. However, I do espouse opinions and, according to my adoptive mother, did engage in activities which she called “falling off the wagon” that looking back absolutely had to be the result of genes, my birth sign or generational changes in attitudes.


8 posted on 02/17/2013 2:57:12 PM PST by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

This is such a bogus study


9 posted on 02/17/2013 3:09:10 PM PST by Chickensoup (200 million unarmed people killed in the 20th century by Leftist Totalitarian Fascists)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ek_hornbeck
people adopt their political beliefs for mostly irrational and emotional reasons

I don't accept that premise. In fact, if I did, it would make me more life a leftist than not. It's why the idea of the "narrative" is so central in modern politics. It is a cornerstone of postmodern "truth," that there is no discoverable truth, only "narratives," stories we tell, to ourselves and others, that reshapes the facts to fit our predispositions. The process of deconstruction is breaking down the narrative to find the irrational primitives that drive it.

But that presumes an essential equality of all narratives, an equality you yourself appear to accept. Yet conservatism inherently rejects that all narratives are created equal. They really are not. The narrative that fails to account for, say, gravity, will be less successful in describing reality than the narrative which accepts gravity as a fact. There may be ways to work around gravity, but it cannot simply be ignored.

This is why conservative, free market economic beliefs are more successful than their leftist counterparts; they are more closely aligned to rational realities. The same applies to conservative (aka rational) social policy.

By contrast, liberal political beliefs are predicated on a massive disconnect between present reality and future possibility. Someday, says the Maoist, if we can destroy enough uncooperative people, if we can totally reengineer human nature, we will have all happiness and unicorns, nirvana at the end of the barrel of a gun held solely by the state. In real world terms, this is magical thinking, it has no hope of ever working, and yet it is the hallmark of the leftist fantasies that drive the middle tier of any Marxist revolution, the useful idiots. The victims know better, and the cynics at the top of the leftist hierarchy know better, and are in it only for themselves, as Orwell points out.

So no, the primitives that drive the political beliefs of the left versus the right are not equivalent, either in moral or rational terms. We do have the better argument, and in the end it is impossible for rational beliefs to fail, though they may skip a generation or two, because sooner or later, the unicorn illusions will fade, and the gravity of real things will prevail.

10 posted on 02/17/2013 3:14:31 PM PST by Springfield Reformer (Winston Churchill: No Peace Till Victory!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Springfield Reformer

more LIKE a leftist than not


11 posted on 02/17/2013 3:17:09 PM PST by Springfield Reformer (Winston Churchill: No Peace Till Victory!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

The difference between people who think for themselves and people who think for what other people will think of them.

The Obama campaign exploited the latter group brilliantly.


12 posted on 02/17/2013 3:18:16 PM PST by 9YearLurker
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Grams A
My adoptive parents were staunch Democrats - but the old style - and voted Democrat until they died several years ago. I don’t remember that politics was ever discussed much in our family when I was growing up. As an adult, it only caused strife so I quit talking about it. Raised as a Southern Baptist in a very hard working family. I have retained their strong value system throughout my life as it relates to church, work, education and how my children were raised but have always voted Republican. However, I do espouse opinions and, according to my adoptive mother, did engage in activities which she called “falling off the wagon” that looking back absolutely had to be the result of genes, my birth sign or generational changes in attitudes.

It's always interesting to meet people who seemingly out of the blue develop personality traits that don't fit until you find out something about their ancestors or real parents.

By the way, I assume that by "old school" Democrats you mean FDR/Truman Democrats, or anti-FDR southern Democrats? That's a completely different bird from today's Democratic party!

13 posted on 02/17/2013 3:18:25 PM PST by ek_hornbeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

The study might be a good predictor of a person’s views, but it’s a very poor predictor of how a person will vote in a given election. There have been lots of polls about policy, and people dislike almost every position Obama takes, often by 2:1 or more. But he has overall positive approval ratings and has just won reelection over someone with whom most people agree on the policy subjects. How can this be?

Because your average low-information voter has cognitive dissonance. Another way of saying liberalism is an illness.


14 posted on 02/17/2013 3:26:35 PM PST by Cyber Liberty (Obama considers the Third World morally superior to the United States.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Springfield Reformer
People can certainly develop rational arguments when it comes to the best means of achieving desired aims. But what those desired aims are depends on a person's values and emotions.

Liberals value equality and "fairness" over liberty and meritocracy for emotional or aesthetic reasons just as conservatives value liberty over equality for emotional or aesthetic reasons. The fact that the latter results in a more prosperous society than the former is incidental.

When it comes to social issues, the emotional foundation for differences is even more obvious. Pro-aborts have an emotional response from the point of view of the mother, anti-aborts from the point of view of compassion for the unborn child. Neither response is based on cold, mathematical logic.

15 posted on 02/17/2013 3:29:01 PM PST by ek_hornbeck
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

16 posted on 02/17/2013 3:36:02 PM PST by Hoodat ("As for God, His way is perfect" - Psalm 18:30)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ek_hornbeck

I assume that by “old school” Democrats you mean FDR/Truman Democrats,...”

Sorry I meant to add the word “Truman” to my “old school”. We lived in Kansas and everyone back there, back then was a Democrat. Have tried to have some discussions with some high school mates from that same era who always vote Democrat but they always end with “...my parents and grandparents all were Democrats...”. Apparently they forgot whatever history they learned about FDR and Truman in comparison to the Democrat philosophy of today.

I still contend that your birth sign has a lot to do with personality traits. BO is a Leo, through and through, as am I. Dark side, King of the jungle, narcissistic and self-centered, almost impossible to accept blame, finds details too tedious to deal with, are just a few of the more common traits that are very obvious, particularly in his case. Bet he also has a Taurus house lurking somewhere because of his stubbornness - not a good pairing.


17 posted on 02/17/2013 4:22:09 PM PST by Grams A (The Sun will rise in the East in the morning and God is still on his throne.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Springfield Reformer
There may be ways to work around gravity, but it cannot simply be ignored.

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!!! YES WE CAN!!!!!1! YES WE

18 posted on 02/17/2013 5:50:09 PM PST by Lonely Bull
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
As a former liberal I see it more this way, the difference between conservatism and liberalism, that is. Conservatism is Mom and Dad and the nice home in the suburbs. Liberalism is when Mom and Dad go away for the week-end and the kids are in charge. I think we all know what happens next.
19 posted on 02/17/2013 6:44:49 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jmacusa

I like your illustration, but are you describing the brain activity from liberals, which centers in the social-group thought area, is thinking of partying when placing a risky bet? The article further states that conservatives trigger the fight-flight response area, which I liken to pumping up the adrenaline to take on the work if the bet fails or cheering when it pays off.

Both persons make similar bets based on the information, though.

How do you describe these distinct areas between political affiliations?


20 posted on 02/17/2013 6:56:03 PM PST by ConservativeMind ("Humane" = "Don't pen up pets or eat meat, but allow infanticide, abortion, and euthanasia.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind

If I’m gonna have a party in my mind I ain’t inviting any politicians no matter what stripe they are. My party my rules.


21 posted on 02/17/2013 7:01:04 PM PST by Lurkina.n.Learnin (Superciliousness is the essence of Obama)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ConservativeMind
Well what I should say is liberals think that any risk they'll incur can be blamed on/sloughed off onto someone else (’’Mom and Dad,( i.e society at large) because results they incur don't matter to libs really. Not negative results anyway. Which is why they always suffer, as do the rest of us, from the law of unintended consequences. Only intent matters to liberals. Like the kid who meant to do his homework but ‘’Gee, gosh I just couldn't do it because...’’(insert excuse/blame). Expectation and outcome are presented as ‘’relative’’ to them. Not to be too flippant about it but I think a large part of the problems with the younger generation, "Obama's kids'' if you will is that kids aren't allowed to play dodge-ball anymore. Dodge-ball prepares you for life, but I digress. For conservatives it's understood that even your best might not be good enough to win, but still always give it your best and if you win it's because you understood the game, ‘’the rules’’ so to speak, that life isn't always ‘’fair’’ and that through your own hard work, honesty and self-reliance you carried the day. If even with all that you lose,well, okay, the other guy was just better and tomorrow is another day. I hope that explains it a bit more.
22 posted on 02/17/2013 7:26:34 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Lurkina.n.Learnin

I hear ya! Hey, the noise inside my head ain’t too loud for ya, is it? :-)


23 posted on 02/17/2013 7:28:49 PM PST by jmacusa (Political correctness is cultural Marxism. I'm not a Marxist.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: jmacusa

No. It sounds good.He.He


24 posted on 02/17/2013 7:42:48 PM PST by Lurkina.n.Learnin (Superciliousness is the essence of Obama)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: ek_hornbeck

Well that’s interesting. You make being prolife a primarily emotional decision, compassion for the unborn child, but which comes first, the emotion or the reason for it? Is not fear a rational emotion, when faced with death? Here’s the dilemma for the value theory of morality: Resolving every moral posit to an irrational emotional primitive is precisely backwards. Fear is merely the collection of signals a rational mind sends to its body when confronted with a real, mortal threat. Whereas fear of something happening that will not or cannot happen is irrational fear (a staple of the left, BTW). Value theory inverts that sequence, treating the emotional component of a rational mental process as something prior to and more basic than the objective reality that created it.

Said inversion is a convenient psych ops tool for the left. It allows them to suppress all dissent on moral or rational grounds to a mere conflict of values, where the solution is for everyone to sheepishly admit their values are no more rational than anyone else’s, and therefore no more authoritative. Once the bastion of moral or rational authority has been thus abandoned, any value may be substituted for any other, as long as the supreme value, the denial of objective truth, is reverently observed.

As these substitute values are also based on emotional primitives and not reason, the left then only needs to push the correct emotional buttons, and it can extract any compromise of values it desires. Sandy Hook is about sheltering the children. Gay marriage is about supporting love. Killing unborn babies is about freeing women from their slavery to men. Etc etc etc.

Consider again the problem of abortion. Posit that survival is generally a rational goal. It is presumed to be such by our founding documents. We search for a right to live because rational people generally want to live, and we seek some authoritative basis for later actions we may have to take to preserve our life. A right is a claim to such authority.

But the rational mind now confronts a problem. If a right is the mere creation of a legislature, or a temporary facade for some irrational emotional primitive, it can be disintegrated as quickly as created; it is inherently unstable, and fails to serve the purpose for which it was created, the preservation of my life.

The founders solved this by appealing to God as the Creator and therefore the grantor of those rights as the equal and indestructible possession of every member of the human family. This necessarily includes the most defenseless humans among us, whether in the womb or on the respirator. For if we can deny these weak ones their right to live, simply because we have the power to do so, we have destroyed the foundation of our own claim to a right to survive. We expose ourselves to the “logic” of tyrants, who believe, as abortionists do, that any right is a deconstructable figment of our imagination, a mere emotional primitive with no rational basis, and once we become inconvenient to the tyrant, we become as disposable as any “fetus.”

So if we have “compassion” in our defense of the unborn, it is no less irrational for the strength with which we feel it, because it is our reason, distilled over centuries and summed up well so well by our founders, that led us to it.


25 posted on 02/17/2013 9:20:04 PM PST by Springfield Reformer (Winston Churchill: No Peace Till Victory!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Lonely Bull

LOL! Exactly!


26 posted on 02/17/2013 9:23:11 PM PST by Springfield Reformer (Winston Churchill: No Peace Till Victory!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: Springfield Reformer

typo, last paragraph - it is no less RATIONAL for the strength with which we feel it


27 posted on 02/17/2013 10:35:43 PM PST by Springfield Reformer (Winston Churchill: No Peace Till Victory!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson