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-   -   Do Liberals And Conservatives Literally Think Differently? (https://www.u2interference.com/forums/f290/do-liberals-and-conservatives-literally-think-differently-179775.html)

MrsSpringsteen 09-10-2007 11:45 AM

Do Liberals And Conservatives Literally Think Differently?
 
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 todayin 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."

UberBeaver 09-10-2007 11:51 AM

Quote:

Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W
WASN'T THIS PROVEN 7 YEARS AGO! :mad:

CTU2fan 09-10-2007 12:17 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by UberBeaver


WASN'T THIS PROVEN 7 YEARS AGO! :mad:

No.


























Just reinforced :)

phillyfan26 09-10-2007 01:54 PM

I'm becoming more and more liberal in my views, and I wonder if it is because my brain is "more open to new experiences."

Also, my English teacher this year is very conservative, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Pearl 09-10-2007 02:16 PM

I come from a conservative family, but my views have also been getting more liberal. So I guess this means brain functions can change over time?

phillyfan26 09-10-2007 02:18 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Pearl
I come from a conservative family, but my views have also been getting more liberal. So I guess this means brain functions can change over time?
I'm the same, though my parents don't discuss their politics with me. I only know that they each come from conservative families.

I originally fancied myself a conservative, but I've been getting more liberal with my values, though I'm still conservative with economics.

Pearl 09-10-2007 02:23 PM

Same here, only my parents discuss their politics with me. Every night at dinner, they (my dad especially) bring up all the issues that concern conservatives. Its really hard to form your own views that way, but so far its been working for me.

martha 09-10-2007 02:25 PM

I saw this in the paper this morning. It made me chuckle.

Irvine511 09-10-2007 02:40 PM

my father's always been kind of liberal, and my mother has gone from Goldwater Republican to Bush 1 voter to Nadar voter to someone who flips off the TV whenever Bush 2 is on and she shudders and says, "oh, that man ..."

so, thank you GWB, for helping my mother see the emptiness of being your kind of "conservative."

kimby 09-10-2007 09:58 PM

I don't buy it...there are liberals who have turned conservative and vice-versa...

Bono's shades 09-10-2007 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by kimby
I don't buy it...there are liberals who have turned conservative and vice-versa...
My parents are living proof. They went from voting for JFK when they were younger to voting for George W. Bush (twice!) How does that happen, anyway? I know you supposedly get more conservative when you get older, but I feel like I'm more liberal now than I was 10 years ago.

2861U2 09-10-2007 10:31 PM

Does anyone else have a family like mine? My whole mom's side of the family are Republicans and my whole dad's side are Democrats. My dad votes Republican, but I'm not sure if he really feels that way or if my mom tells him to. Fortunately, the Republicanism is living on in me and my 2 siblings.

deep 09-10-2007 10:56 PM

It sounds like your mom has the most influence in your family.

martha 09-10-2007 11:40 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by kimby
I don't buy it...there are liberals who have turned conservative and vice-versa...
But people can learn to be receptive to new ideas.

BonosSaint 09-10-2007 11:41 PM

In watching the behavior of conservatives and liberals, I sometimes find conservatives as decisiveness without thought and liberals as thought without decisiveness.

How do both sides think the thought processes differ (if they do)? Not the end result, but the actual processes.

Irvine511 09-11-2007 07:37 AM

from my experience, conservatives see clarity as a goal, whereas liberals see complexity as a goal.

BVS 09-11-2007 08:17 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by 2861U2
My dad votes Republican, but I'm not sure if he really feels that way or if my mom tells him to.
:eyebrow: I thought all the bossy controlling women were on the Democrats side(at least that's how the conservatives have painted it).

BonosSaint 09-11-2007 10:23 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511
from my experience, conservatives see clarity as a goal, whereas liberals see complexity as a goal.
Much nicer than I put it and likely more accurate.

Slipstream 09-11-2007 11:04 AM

It's confusing and a bit of a paradox. I'm a Euro/Canadian citizen and very liberal when it comes to social issues. But I'm conservative when it comes to fiscal issues and the military.
So that would be centre-left, centre-right or Even Steven! I don't know where that would fit into in the US.

UberBeaver 09-11-2007 11:28 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by Slipstream
It's confusing and a bit of a paradox. I'm a Euro/Canadian citizen and very liberal when it comes to social issues. But I'm conservative when it comes to fiscal issues and the military.
So that would be centre-left, centre-right or Even Steven! I don't know where that would fit into in the US.

I'm the same. I'm registered as a Democrat but I vote 3rd party. neither party has put a candidate up worthy of my vote since Clinton. I'll probably re-register as an Independent. Maybe Green. There are no significant third parties here, and that's pretty sad in a country of 300+ million.

financeguy 09-12-2007 09:55 PM

When I see what passes for conservative thought nowadays, really, I just weep, sometimes almost literally, and when I see right wing Republican opinion being equated with conservative opinion on FYM on a regular basis I don't usually bother objecting.

It isn't liberalism or the left that has conservatism in its parlous state, it is conservatives (or, more accurately, those trading under the banner of conservatism) themselves.

Conservatism IS in a parlous state, and the damage Buschco and the neo-cons have done to the conservatism in the space of less than a decade is really quite incredible, it's almost on a par with the damage Marxism did to liberalism.

I would say it will take at least two generations to solve this.

Nevertheless, at my core, I would probably still define myself as a conservative. I don't really have a very good way of explaining this other than to say that conservatism, to me, represents three big ideas:-

(1) A belief in the freedom of the private citizen from unjust encroachment by the state

(2) A belief that societal change should be gradually and carefully implemented

(3) A belief in the rule of law, tempered always with mercy

martha 09-12-2007 10:00 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by financeguy
Conservatism IS in a parlous state, and the damage Buschco and the neo-cons have done to the conservatism in the space of less than a decade is really quite incredible,


Surely a sign of the end times, but I agree with you.

BVS 09-12-2007 10:04 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by financeguy


(2) A belief that societal change should be gradually and carefully implemented


Well I have to say I agree with most of your post except maybe the Marxist part...

But the above is usually where you and I disagree. I think most social changes have occured far too slowly, and I can't think of one where conservatives were on the correct side of history.

Mr. Green Eyes 09-13-2007 09:10 AM

My dad is a hard core Republican (even though he was orginally a Democrate), mom is a Democrate (even though she was orginally a Republican). I'm a Republican but I have Liberal views. I've been thinking about switching over to being a Democrate. My dad and sister think this is not right.

Irvine511 09-13-2007 09:25 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by financeguy
Nevertheless, at my core, I would probably still define myself as a conservative. I don't really have a very good way of explaining this other than to say that conservatism, to me, represents three big ideas:-

(1) A belief in the freedom of the private citizen from unjust encroachment by the state

(2) A belief that societal change should be gradually and carefully implemented

(3) A belief in the rule of law, tempered always with mercy



you sound like a classical liberal.

MaxFisher 09-14-2007 05:29 PM

Slate.com debunks the study...

https://www.slate.com/id/2173965/

MaxFisher 09-14-2007 05:32 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511
from my experience, conservatives see clarity as a goal, whereas liberals see complexity as a goal.
Occam's Razor:

"All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one."

BonosSaint 09-14-2007 06:26 PM

"All things being equal...." is a necessary component.

AEON 09-14-2007 11:40 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511
from my experience, conservatives see clarity as a goal, whereas liberals see complexity as a goal.
Just curious - why would complexity be a goal? I can understand it being a "state of things" - but not an actual goal.

AEON 09-14-2007 11:41 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by BonosSaint
"All things being equal...." is a necessary component.
No...the RIGHT one is the necessary component.

AEON 09-14-2007 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511




you sound like a classical liberal.

Really - the Liberals in these parts would disagree with all three.

1) Individual freedom is sacrificed at the alter of political correctness.
2) change should happen NOW (ACT! END IRAQ NOW!) There is nothing gradual about their causes
3) Rule of law? Are you kidding? Laws comes from the "the man" or "the system" simply to keep them down and press them into a sheeple mold

BonosSaint 09-15-2007 02:54 AM

The thread is actually about the thought processes of both types.

But, I don't know many liberals who don't believe in the rule of law. They have a tendency to work within the law to change the system....with occasional acts of civil disobedience to push the change of the law. That particular point you made was just silly.

Both sides are uncomfortable with total individual freedom. Both sides champion different aspects of it that are often at odds with each other.

BonosSaint 09-15-2007 02:59 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON


No...the RIGHT one is the necessary component.

When parsing a short statement, it is necessary to consider all of the parts of it. You're welcome to create your own theory.

An alternate presentation of Occam's Razor is that "we should not assert that for which we do not have some proof."

https://www.physics.adelaide.edu.au/~...ral/occam.html

Occam's Razor argues for simple, not simplistic.

I'm not sure that many American conservatives would be comfortable with the principle of Occam's Razor. Wanderer has used it quite effectively in support of an atheistic approach.

indra 09-15-2007 03:32 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON


No...the RIGHT one is the necessary component.

Of course the correct one is necessary...and that's where you're screwed. :wink:

BVS 09-15-2007 03:52 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON


1) Individual freedom is sacrificed at the alter of political correctness.

Bullshit!!! This is such a copout...

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON

2) change should happen NOW (ACT! END IRAQ NOW!) There is nothing gradual about their causes

I do agree that many changes should happen now.

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON

3) Rule of law? Are you kidding? Laws comes from the "the man" or "the system" simply to keep them down and press them into a sheeple mold

You really have little understanding of anything outside your box. You really do, and it's scary.

BonosSaint 09-15-2007 04:42 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by MaxFisher


Occam's Razor:

"All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one."


But I think you made a point in differentiating between clarity and complexity. I think sometimes liberals get stymied in complexity. Perhaps, it might be more accurate to say that many liberals show an appreciation for complexity as opposed to complexity being a goal.

phillyfan26 09-15-2007 07:51 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON
1) Individual freedom is sacrificed at the alter of political correctness.
2) change should happen NOW (ACT! END IRAQ NOW!) There is nothing gradual about their causes
3) Rule of law? Are you kidding? Laws comes from the "the man" or "the system" simply to keep them down and press them into a sheeple mold

As an independent, I can tell you that your description of liberals is terribly, terribly biased and inaccurate. That description is something you'd only ever hear from a very conservative person who hates liberals.

AEON 09-15-2007 09:08 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by indra


Of course the correct one is necessary...and that's where you're screwed. :wink:

I was actually joking - I was playing on the word RIGHT (meaning conservative)

BonosSaint 09-15-2007 09:20 AM

I was wondering how you missed two elements of such a short statement.:D :evil:

indra 09-15-2007 12:34 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON


I was actually joking - I was playing on the word RIGHT (meaning conservative)

I know. :)

financeguy 09-15-2007 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON
2) change should happen NOW (ACT! END IRAQ NOW!) There is nothing gradual about their causes

I agree with your first point to an extent, but no true conservative could possibly support the Iraq war.

AEON 09-15-2007 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by financeguy


I agree with your first point to an extent, but no true conservative could possibly support the Iraq war.

Did you vote for Pat Buchanan?

financeguy 09-15-2007 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON
Did you vote for Pat Buchanan?
Dude, note my location.

BVS 09-15-2007 01:11 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON


Did you vote for Pat Buchanan?

Read before you post.

AEON 09-15-2007 03:27 PM

Dang - jump all over me...

phillyfan26 09-15-2007 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON


Did you vote for Pat Buchanan?

Do you have anything to refute his point about true conservatives' opinions on the war?

melon 09-15-2007 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by AEON
Really - the Liberals in these parts would disagree with all three.

1) Individual freedom is sacrificed at the alter of political correctness.
2) change should happen NOW (ACT! END IRAQ NOW!) There is nothing gradual about their causes
3) Rule of law? Are you kidding? Laws comes from the "the man" or "the system" simply to keep them down and press them into a sheeple mold

Really, you know that this is a sloppy stereotype, because I can describe "conservatives" in the same mold:

1) Individual freedom is sacrificed at the altar of "Christian morality."
2) Change should happen NOW (ACT! BAN GAY MARRIAGE NOW!) There is nothing gradual about their causes.
3) Rule of law? If judges don't rule MY WAY, then they're obviously "activist judges" who should be impeached (never mind that a sizable percentage of these so-called "activist judges" were Republican appointees, all the way from the "gay marriage" cases to the judge who ordered Terri Shiavo's life support cessation).

There's certainly a couple of conservatives here that I can name off the top of my head who are this reliably hysterical.

melon 09-15-2007 05:02 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MaxFisher
Occam's Razor:

"All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one."

Quote:

This is often paraphrased as "All things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one," or alternately, "We should not assert that for which we do not have some proof."

In other words, when multiple competing theories are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selecting the theory that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities (although this is not always the same as simplicity). It is in this sense that Occam's razor is usually understood.

AEON 09-16-2007 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by melon


Really, you know that this is a sloppy stereotype, because I can describe "conservatives" in the same mold:

1) Individual freedom is sacrificed at the altar of "Christian morality."
2) Change should happen NOW (ACT! BAN GAY MARRIAGE NOW!) There is nothing gradual about their causes.
3) Rule of law? If judges don't rule MY WAY, then they're obviously "activist judges" who should be impeached (never mind that a sizable percentage of these so-called "activist judges" were Republican appointees, all the way from the "gay marriage" cases to the judge who ordered Terri Shiavo's life support cessation).

There's certainly a couple of conservatives here that I can name off the top of my head who are this reliably hysterical.

I see you're point. However, I was trying to debunk the Liberal myth instead of creating a Conservative myth.

AEON 09-16-2007 12:59 AM

Quote:

Originally posted by phillyfan26


Do you have anything to refute his point about true conservatives' opinions on the war?

I was once a extremely "conservative" type of isolationsist (like Buchanan). However, I was once reading a biography on JFK and I was inspired to believe that the US could actually make the world a better place for the overwhelming majority of the people on this planet.


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