[Vision2020] Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain

deb debismith at moscow.com
Tue Sep 11 21:15:56 PDT 2007

Well, "empirical evidence" for the obvious...FUNNY....
Debi R-S
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gray Tree Crab aka Big Bertha" 
<gray.treecrab.aka.big.bertha at gmail.com>
To: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:01 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain

> http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-politics10sep10,1,7735909.story?coll=la-headlines-nation
> *From the Los Angeles Times*
> Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain Even in humdrum nonpolitical
> decisions, liberals and conservatives literally think differently,
> researchers show.
> By Denise Gellene
> Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
> September 10, 2007
> 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 today in 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."
> denise.gellene at latimes.com
> Submitted by:
> Gray Tree Crab aka "Big Bertha"
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