Saturday, February 4, 2012

Lib/Con:  Left versus Right, in the Brain

Research has already shown that, compared to liberals, conservatives display heightened responses to threatening images.

Michael Dodd of the University of Nebraska wanted to explore this in finer detail: He showed 46 left- or right-leaning Nebraskans a series of images alternately disgusting (spiders on faces, open wounds) and appealing (smiling children, cute rabbits.) Dodd's team found that conservatives reacted most strongly to negative images, and liberals most strongly to positive photographs.

Then he showed them pictures of well-known politicians. The same patterns held: Conservatives displayed more distaste than liberals for politicians they disliked, while liberals felt more positive than conservatives about politicians they liked.

Given these and other findings, wrote Dodd's team, "those on the political right and those on the political left may simply experience the world differently."

For more, see Human Nature and the Neurobiology of Conflict by Brandon Keim, January 26, 2012 at Wired.com.

No comments: