Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

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Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by |darc| » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:46 am

latimes.com wrote:Even in humdrum nonpolitical decisions, liberals and conservatives literally think differently, researchers show.

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

In a simple experiment reported todayin the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show 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 show "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." They were instructed 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 the 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 got the same results when they repeated the experiment in reverse, asking another set of participants to tap when a W appeared.

Frank J. Sulloway, a researcher at UC Berkeley's Institute of Personality and Social Research who was not connected to the study, said the 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 as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

Sulloway said the results could explain why President Bush demonstrated a single-minded commitment to the Iraq war and why some people perceived Sen. John F. Kerry, the liberal Massachusetts Democrat who opposed Bush in the 2004 presidential race, as a "flip-flopper" for changing his mind about the conflict.

Based on the results, he 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 that it would be a mistake to conclude that one political orientation was better. 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 favor abortion rights.

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?" Amodio asked. "Maybe it suggests one reason why they tend not to get along."
It's thinking...
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by hearld500 » Tue Sep 11, 2007 2:41 pm

Or conservatives like order and liberals like chaos.
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by Stormwatch » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:25 pm

What is a liberal? A classic liberal, who believes in small government and individual freedom? Or a person of left-leaning, big-nanny-state ideas?

What is a conservative? A fiscal conservative, who believes the government shouldn't be prodigal and bloated? Or someone who wants to put the ten commandments at every square and force stores to stay closed on sundays?

The positive meaning for both words is the same: a libertarian.
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by Ex-Cyber » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:55 pm

Stormwatch wrote:What is a liberal? A classic liberal, who believes in small government and individual freedom? Or a person of left-leaning, big-nanny-state ideas?

What is a conservative? A fiscal conservative, who believes the government shouldn't be prodigal and bloated? Or someone who wants to put the ten commandments at every square and force stores to stay closed on sundays?
I would guess that they self-identified rather than being chosen for policy positions.

That said, I suspect that at least the more vocal self-professed libertarians would tend to fit the "conservative" mental mold as it relates to this study. I have seen a lot of extremely rigid rhetoric in libertarian writings, especially in anything having to do with "free markets".
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by Roofus » Tue Sep 11, 2007 5:50 pm

hearld500 wrote:Or conservatives like order and liberals like chaos.
Order like in Iraq?

Oh, wait...
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by hearld500 » Tue Sep 11, 2007 8:57 pm

Well, you've got me there. I'm not going to bother arguing.

I was more trying to get at the thread title then anything else.
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by zman » Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:12 am

It's easy to figure out.

Liberals use feelings and emotions to resolve issues.

Conservatives use facts and figures with logic and history to back up their results in resolving issues.

That to me is why there is a wide gap between ideologies.
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by |darc| » Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:16 am

zman wrote:It's easy to figure out.

Liberals use feelings and emotions to resolve issues.

Conservatives use facts and figures with logic and history to back up their results in resolving issues.

That to me is why there is a wide gap between ideologies.
You got it backwards.

"You're a terr'ist if you don't love America! Jesus loves you! 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11" is a chant of the Conservative, a chant of emotion and feeling.
It's thinking...
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by Roofus » Wed Sep 12, 2007 12:17 pm

|darc| wrote:
zman wrote:It's easy to figure out.

Liberals use feelings and emotions to resolve issues.

Conservatives use facts and figures with logic and history to back up their results in resolving issues.

That to me is why there is a wide gap between ideologies.
You got it backwards.

"You're a terr'ist if you don't love America! Jesus loves you! 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11" is a chant of the Conservative, a chant of emotion and feeling.
Exactly. This is why historically, liberals have had a tough time. They expect people to be moved by facts and figures. I read a review of a book that's about this divide (don't remember what it's called :( ) but an excerpt gave an example of how an ad for gun control should look: First, use grainy black and white. Then show a line of Middle Eastern-looking guys going up to the counter, paying in cash and walking out with assault rifles, machine guns, etc. Then fade and put up the text "(My opponent) wants it to be this easy to get a gun. Do you? Vote for me. Abortion is similar: Focus on rape victims.

Conservatives are expert at stirring up emotion; I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed that gay marriage is only important in years divisible by 2. The (only) reason liberals don't get elected more is because they're androids.
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by Covar » Wed Sep 12, 2007 10:50 pm

|darc| wrote:
zman wrote:It's easy to figure out.

Liberals use feelings and emotions to resolve issues.

Conservatives use facts and figures with logic and history to back up their results in resolving issues.

That to me is why there is a wide gap between ideologies.
You got it backwards.

"You're a terr'ist if you don't love America! Jesus loves you! 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11" is a chant of the Conservative, a chant of emotion and feeling.
you don't want to start that arguement.
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by AgentGreen » Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:56 am

If you remove the semicolon in the title, you get a lot more truthiness. This is severely slanted by the liberal media and liberal colleges like NYU and UCLA.

Satirizing of right-wing pundits aside, I'd like to see a study done on ACTUAL conservatives. Our definition of conservative applies to the actual definition of a classical liberal.
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Re: Liberals think; Conservatives have broken brains

Post by Wagh » Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:45 am

This us vs them crap is tired and old.
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