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View Diary: Red brains vs. blue brains (10 comments)

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    in the earlier diary was identified in the Fresno BEE as coming from the Chicago Tribune.  The Tribune article included results of other research and views of people who did not perform this study.  A commenter on the earlier diary added this to the discussion:

    The L.A. Times has this story:

       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...

    They also did the experiment in reverse, perhaps realizing the "W" might have an emotional resonance for the politically aware.  :)

       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...

    Please note that the liberals were more perceptive and more often correct.

    While the L.A. Times piece also quotes someone claiming possible disadvantages for thinking "liberally":  

      1. I would note the absence of any "mirror" laboratory findings (such as any parts of conservatives' brains being more active than liberals'). The results solely show increased brain activity among the liberals.  

      2. I cannot think of many situations where failing to perceive and respond to a critical change is of any practical advantage. (And such failure, raised to a matter of principle, is the absolute hallmark of the current, ruinous Administration.)

      3. Since the group were college students, the findings do not necessarily hold for all conservative individuals, some of whom have thoughtful and nuanced views. It probably tells us, mostly, about the knee-jerk "conservatives" of today.  

    BTW, to blockquote, you can highlight a paragraph and press the Blockquote button.

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