Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Liberal Amygdala: This is your brain on politics

Exactly how scientific are the studies 
Quote #1:
Research suggests that liberals are, on average, more susceptible to ignoring danger signals and warning signs than those who identify themselves as conservatives. Looking at MRIs of a large sample of young adults last year, researchers at University College London discovered that “greater liberalism was associated with decreased volume of the right amygdala” (*). The amygdala is a fundamental brain structure that’s critical for social empathy and avoidance of reckless behavior.
Is this a value-free statement?  Is it objective and unbiased?  Is this a statement of science or of 21st century phrenology?  

Do you remember reading the following when George Bush was in office?
Consider for a moment just how terrifying it must be to live life as a true believer on the left.  Reality is scary enough, but the alternative reality inhabited by people who watch Bill Maher, listen to Air America Radio, or think Nancy Pelosi isn’t a joke must be nothing less than horrifying.
What would a left-leaning citizen think reading this?  And what would they think of this as the opinion of someone generalizing about the cerebral differences between conservatives and liberals and what these differences might mean? 

Actually these quotes are not the original quotes. The first quote has been rephrased, and the second quote re-worked in a different manner.
To read the original quotes, go here.
The modern method [of argument] is to assume without discussion that he [the opponent] is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. . . . [It] is a truly democratic game in the sense that all can play it all day long, and that it gives no unfair privilege to the small and offensive minority who reason.  ~ C.S. Lewis 
Update 7/2/2016:
Several papers retracted/corrected that had incorrectly linked conservatism to negative psychological traits

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