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HelicopterOff Topics › Brains of liberals, conservatives may work differently
09-10-2007 04:27 PM  10 years agoPost 1
kiwidave1

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The differences between liberals and conservatives may run deeper than how they feel about welfare reform or the progress of the Iraq war: Researchers reported Sunday that their brains may actually work differently.

In a study likely to raise the hackles of some conservatives, scientists at New York University and the University of California, Los Angeles, found that a specific region of the brain's cortex is more sensitive in people who consider themselves liberals than in self-declared conservatives.

The brain region in question helps people shift gears when their usual response would be inappropriate, supporting the notion that liberals are more flexible in their thinking.

"Say you drive home from work the same way every day, but one day there's a detour and you need to override your autopilot," said NYU psychologist David Amodio. "Most people function just fine. But there's a little variability in how sensitive people are to the cue that they need to change their current course."

The work, to be reported today in the journal Nature Neuroscience, grew out of decades of previous research suggesting that political orientation is linked to certain personality traits or styles of thinking. A review of that research published in 2003 found that conservatives tend to be more rigid and closed-minded, less tolerant of ambiguity and less open to new experiences. Some of the traits associated with conservatives in that review were decidedly unflattering, including fear, aggression and tolerance of inequality. That evoked outrage from conservative pundits.

The latest study showed "there are two cognitive styles -- a liberal style and a conservative style," said UCLA neurologist Dr. Marco Iacoboni, who was not connected with the latest research.

Linda Skitka, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said it's possible the liberals in the recent study appeared more flexible than the conservatives because the population was skewed.

"We're more likely to find extreme conservatives in the U.S. than extreme liberals," she said.

Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." Scientists instructed them 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 their 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 obtained the same results when they repeated the experiment in reverse, asking another set of participants to tap when they saw W.

Frank Sulloway of the Institute of Personality and Social Research at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study, said 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 more likely than conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts and were 2.2 times more likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

Based on the results, Sulloway said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

Amodio said it would be a mistake to conclude that one political orientation was better than another. The tendency of conservatives to block distracting information could be a good thing depending on the situation, he said. Positions on specific issues are influenced by many factors, he noted.

Let the games begin lol,

david

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

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09-10-2007 04:55 PM  10 years agoPost 2
R Hudson

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This could be good

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09-10-2007 05:14 PM  10 years agoPost 3
derek533

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Popcorn anyone?

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09-10-2007 05:29 PM  10 years agoPost 4
R Hudson

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This is happening way too slow.

I'll give it a push.

For starters, I am one who will "more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas."

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09-10-2007 05:34 PM  10 years agoPost 5
Havoc

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Ky.

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I think the difference is that Liberals have larger vaginas than women and a greater tendency to get sand in them. But they do need to have some argument to explain how they think and I guess a flash card lab test is as close as they will ever get.

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09-10-2007 05:44 PM  10 years agoPost 6
R Hudson

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Liberals have larger vaginas than women and a greater tendency to get sand in them
I almost launched my coffee right out of my nose!!!!

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09-10-2007 05:57 PM  10 years agoPost 7
RCHelicopterGuy

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Based on the results, Sulloway said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.
The problem with that statement is in the unspoken implication:

Only new ideas are worthwhile.

I'm unabashedly conservative. I also believe that as a culture, we've drifted far away from the concepts that used to be held dear - concepts like sexual monogamy, fidelity in marriage, the traditional family structure, a clear and uncompromising moral certitude, a belief in God and His direction for our lives, and the traditional Protestant work ethic.

Liberalism is founded largely on the tennet that old things are useless and should be discarded - that only what is new and avant-garde is worthwhile, so by extension anyone who thinks otherwise is closed-minded and intolerant.

The irony is that "open minded tolerance" as defined by modern Liberalism is a one-way street. Conservatives are expected to be open-mindedly tolerant of Liberal views, but Liberals are under no compulsion to be "tolerant" of Conservatism. In fact, the whole opening post in this thread illustrated it.

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09-10-2007 06:15 PM  10 years agoPost 8
kiwidave1

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I'm unabashedly conservative. I also believe that as a culture, we've drifted far away from the concepts that used to be held dear - concepts like sexual monogamy, fidelity in marriage, the traditional family structure, a clear and uncompromising moral certitude, a belief in God and His direction for our lives, and the traditional Protestant work ethic
Never happened! never ever happened. There was never such a time, but always good to dream, I guess.

David

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

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09-10-2007 06:37 PM  10 years agoPost 9
derek533

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I think the difference is that Liberals have larger vaginas than women and a greater tendency to get sand in them.
Reminds me of a joke I heard one time:

Q: Why don't women drink on the beach?
A: Because they get sand in their Schlitz!

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09-10-2007 06:41 PM  10 years agoPost 10
Inspector Fuzz

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Many liberals are very intolerant. This is they main reason they complain so much. They seek a world of constant tumultuous change in accordance with their unstable and overly fluid thought processes. Liberals are easily lead with promises down the "easy" path.
JEFF

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09-10-2007 06:45 PM  10 years agoPost 11
R Hudson

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Are you saying that they give-in to temptation by the "Dark Side"?

And that forever will it dominate their destiny, consume them, it will?

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09-10-2007 07:01 PM  10 years agoPost 12
Inspector Fuzz

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Yes, Darth Vader was a true liberal. He was intolerant and engaged in behavior that he himself would not permit others to do. He sought power through deception and promised an easy path to those who would follow.
Come on Lou and Sealer, where are you today?
JEFF

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09-10-2007 07:06 PM  10 years agoPost 13
AndyH

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Yup, Darth Vader definitely had sand in his vagina...

This hobby is like Kryptonite to chicks!

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09-10-2007 08:02 PM  10 years agoPost 14
TrexRookie

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here goes... it's starting to heat up... could be the signs of an epic battle brewing to capacity.

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09-10-2007 08:40 PM  10 years agoPost 15
SilverEagle2

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Utah

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Sweet.

A thread that will definately help me in compiling my "Ignore List!"

Wait..what!?!?! No, that can't be!

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09-10-2007 08:42 PM  10 years agoPost 16
TrexRookie

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if only Mark Ryder would setup virtual bleacher seats so that we could watch this all from a distance... errrrrrr....

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09-10-2007 10:21 PM  10 years agoPost 17
helo_chris

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goodlettsville, tn

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Never happened! never ever happened. There was never such a time, but always good to dream, I guess.

David
Then explain how divorce and single parent homes went from almost non-existent to more than half of American families. Must be because of all this progressive thinking

And if liberals like Sealerman are so opened minded then do they so despise GWB? Or not open to new paths to enlightenment? These people despise people and religion with a passion that is almost inspiring, yet expect us to believe that they are open minded

I think the biggest difference is conservatives deal with facts and black and white morality, not relativism and emotion. And I think they should do that same test on the same subjects when they reach 50, after all these hippy, liberal, tree huggers spend their life smoking with Slick Willy and dropping acid I bet they dont have more cognitive response then

"There is a fine line between cutting edge and bleeding edge.."

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09-10-2007 11:20 PM  10 years agoPost 18
Sealerman

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I wish they explained in that factual study why CON's can't come to grips with their Homosexuality.
Then explain how divorce and single parent homes went from almost non-existent to more than half of American families. Must be because of all this progressive thinking
Helo you are a dreamer.
http://boston.com/news/globe/editor..._family_values/
The state with the lowest divorce rate in the nation is Massachusetts. At latest count it had a divorce rate of 2.4 per 1,000 population, while the rate for Texas was 4.1.

But don't take the US government's word for it. Take a look at the findings from the George Barna Research Group. George Barna, a born-again Christian whose company is in Ventura, Calif., found that Massachusetts does indeed have the lowest divorce rate among all 50 states. More disturbing was the finding that born-again Christians have among the highest divorce rates.
The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
CON's are all Criminals and Repressed Homo's and sooner or later they will be found out and exposed.

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09-10-2007 11:25 PM  10 years agoPost 19
Sealerman

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Then explain how divorce and single parent homes went from almost non-existent to more than half of American families.
It's because of the CON invasion of America, hopefully one day we can hunt them down in their bathroom stalls.

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09-10-2007 11:47 PM  10 years agoPost 20
helo_chris

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Those statistics may well be true Mr Sealerman, but they dont account for that fact that most states dont allow for homosexuals to get married. So they are a little skewed. And I have completely come to grips with the fact that you are a homosexual, I dont have a problem with it at all.

"There is a fine line between cutting edge and bleeding edge.."

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