Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liberals think faster, Conservatives think harder

So the folks over at UCLA did a little study on the brain activity of political liberals and conservatives. They asked people who consider themselves to be very conservative or very liberal to participate in a study which measures the difference between reaction and habit. Read the article if you want more information.

"Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work.

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"

The article goes on to say that there can be no value judgement between the different thinking styles - both have their strengths and weaknesses. This may, however, explain why it is so difficult for liberals and conservatives to agree. Where do you find yourself on this spectrum? Does this explain how you think & vote?


Mick Wright said...

Jonah Goldberg's take.

James T Wood said...

Responses to Goldberg's take:
He really ought to read the article rather than simply reacting to it. The article does not say that being a liberal/conservative is genetic, but rather that each view has a different cognative style. It is well recognized that habitual thoughts and actions create neurological pathways. What we think changes how we think. Goldberg really must be conservative if he can't understand the article to mean anything other than what he expected it to mean (tongue firmly in cheek).

rich jandt said...

Wierd. I think as I mature I find that I'm much more open to new experences, and different approaches to problems. I wonder if instead of become more mature, my brain is changing. I also wonder if this actuall difference in mind sets is measurable in children. (I have no intention of reading the article, by the way)
I can say for certian that I feel differently about polotics now than I did 10 years ago. Is it my brain, my EQ, or the current Americian political regime that is changing my pov?

Mick Wright said...

Slate's take.

rich jandt said...

What an angry man this Slate is. I had no idea that someone could be so offended for being called different. Untrue to my earlier post I did in fact go back and read the article. There were no judgment calls made in the article, other than pointing out some positives for each style of thought. For instance "conservatives show more structured and persistent cognitive styles, whereas liberals are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty." Since when is being stuctured or linier a bad thing?
Another thought I had on this subject was, What if my willingness to experience new things changed my brain, and not having a different brain made me more apt to experience new things? I definitely want to see more on this study, especially on the cause/effect correlation of this subject.

Mike Lewis said...

I think it's your EQ Rich. You need to turn down your mids.

James T Wood said...

And turn up my bass! Turn it UP!