Political Bias Impedes Brain Function....

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    Political Bias Impedes Brain Function....


    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11009379/

    Well, it doesn't really impede it, but the study shows that those with a political slant dont use the logical sides of the brain when listening to an argument they dont agree with:

    Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.

    And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view.

    Researchers asked staunch party members from both sides to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. The subjects'

    The results were announced today.

    "We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."

    Bias on both sides
    The test subjects on both sides of the political aisle reached totally biased conclusions by ignoring information that could not rationally be discounted, Westen and his colleagues say.

    Then, with their minds made up, brain activity ceased in the areas that deal with negative emotions such as disgust. But activity spiked in the circuits involved in reward, a response similar to what addicts experience when they get a fix, Westen explained.

    The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making.

    "None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."

    Notably absent were any increases in activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain most associated with reasoning.

    The tests involved pairs of statements by the candidates, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, that clearly contradicted each other. The test subjects were asked to consider and rate the discrepancy. Then they were presented with another statement that might explain away the contradiction. The scenario was repeated several times for each candidate.

    Functional brain imaging helps scientists understand the relationship between particular types of mental activity and particular areas of the brain, by charting which regions experience increased blood flow or metabolism or electromagnetic activity over time. Itís a step beyond CT scans, or CAT scans, which can map the brainís structure but not its functions. Click on the labels above to learn more about three technologies used for functional brain imaging.

    A brain-scan technique known as functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, revealed a consistent pattern. Both Republicans and Democrats consistently denied obvious contradictions for their own candidate but detected contradictions in the opposing candidate.

    "The result is that partisan beliefs are calcified, and the person can learn very little from new data," Westen said.

    Other relatively neutral candidates were introduced into the mix, such as the actor Tom Hanks. Importantly, both the Democrats and Republicans reacted to the contradictions of these characters in the same manner.

    The findings could prove useful beyond the campaign trail.

    "Everyone from executives and judges to scientists and politicians may reason to emotionally biased judgments when they have a vested interest in how to interpret 'the facts,'" Westen said.

    The researchers will present the findings Saturday at the Annual Conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

    BV

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    I'm not at all surprised. As a moderate I simply do not bother to argue with zealots of any political/religious persuasion. When you confront said zealot with a logical, sound reason for their stance to be wrong, I can practically hear their brains skip a track like a broken record and they jump back into their pre-memorized comfort zone. Sad thing is, there seems to be a lot of rigid idealogues these days and both the media and the govt seem to exacerbate the problem.

    Objective thinking..it's not just for breakfast anymore.
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    Hell I could have told you that. you hear some pretty gay ass excuses sometimes and people go with them. they dont go with the right decision they go with their parties decision.
    ok I'm done.
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    Liberalism is a mental disorder -Michael Savage
    E-Pharm Nutrition Representative
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    Quote Originally Posted by bioman
    I'm not at all surprised. As a moderate I simply do not bother to argue with zealots of any political/religious persuasion. When you confront said zealot with a logical, sound reason for their stance to be wrong, I can practically hear their brains skip a track like a broken record and they jump back into their pre-memorized comfort zone. Sad thing is, there seems to be a lot of rigid idealogues these days and both the media and the govt seem to exacerbate the problem.

    Objective thinking..it's not just for breakfast anymore.
    Exactly! I don't need a study to tell me this. I bartend with a friend who is a diehard conservative. He would pollute the air with weak ass, ill-understood talking points espousing conservative virtues. I always told him that he was naive to deify Bush as if he were beyond fault, just as those who perform figurative fellatio on Clinton's legacy are out of touch. My buddy just got a job with the state, and he realized that he has been losing out b/c of Romney's policies (so says his office culture). He's a Democrat now


    BTW, I love the title of this thread
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    Quote Originally Posted by rampage jackson
    Liberalism is a mental disorder -Michael Savage
    another kansas boy!
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    I'm not at all surprised. As a moderate I simply do not bother to argue with zealots of any political/religious persuasion. When you confront said zealot with a logical, sound reason for their stance to be wrong, I can practically hear their brains skip a track like a broken record and they jump back into their pre-memorized comfort zone. Sad thing is, there seems to be a lot of rigid idealogues these days and both the media and the govt seem to exacerbate the problem.

    Objective thinking..it's not just for breakfast anymore.
    +1

    Isnt it frightening that most of the people in charge of running the country are politically and/or religiously polarized?

    BV
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    Glad they finally did the research on it to prove it lol
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    Wow, great post bro!! That is an outstanding article.

    The reason I found it so intriguing was the fact that yesterday my roommate got into a fight involving politics. And I kept commenting on how watching biased movies (such as Michael Moore's movies) and watching biased news such as CNN and Fox all lead to biased opinions and that people never truly dig deep enough to look at both sides. I commented how al-jazeera news network is actually an outstanding source of news (type in google, al jazeera news) and it will give you the link to the english site since I have forgotten it. But this study proves that people don't stop to think about what they here, they just reinforce their prior viewpoints.
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    We now return to your regularly scheduled pre-programming
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigVrunga
    +1

    Isnt it frightening that most of the people in charge of running the country are politically and/or religiously polarized?

    BV
    Or that we are fighting to keep a Theocracy from happening when it may be taking place while we were away.
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    I wonder how this theory might be applied to a number of areas not limited to racism, sexism, etc. A smart racist just seems like an oxy-moran of a statement to me.

    I like the title of the thread too, btw.
    My The 1 LOG: http://anabolicminds.com/forum/steroids/254164-my-one-log.html
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    Quote Originally Posted by LakeMountD
    Wow, great post bro!! That is an outstanding article.

    The reason I found it so intriguing was the fact that yesterday my roommate got into a fight involving politics. And I kept commenting on how watching biased movies (such as Michael Moore's movies) and watching biased news such as CNN and Fox all lead to biased opinions and that people never truly dig deep enough to look at both sides. I commented how al-jazeera news network is actually an outstanding source of news (type in google, al jazeera news) and it will give you the link to the english site since I have forgotten it. But this study proves that people don't stop to think about what they here, they just reinforce their prior viewpoints.
    Well, I agreed wth you all the way up until you started promoting al jazeera
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