Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liberals and Conservatives Really Do Think Differently!

It apparently isn't just the politics.

The linked LA Times article tells of an interesting experiment conducted by scientists at New York University and UCLA. College students that were known to be either frothily left-wing or frothily right-wing were asked to take a stimulus-response test which was designed to lull the examinee into a conditioned response.

The result?

The conservatives processed the information more quickly and responded faster.
However, the liberals made far fewer mistakes.

Even more interesting was the brain scans of the participants. The liberals actually showed far more activity in the areas of the brain related to conflict and problem solving than the conservatives. This meant that the liberals were far more prepared to adapt to the situation at hand and deal with it appropriately. The conservatives, on the other hand, quickly formulated a fixed response pattern and more or less stuck to it even if it caused them to make more mistakes.

Draw your own conclusions.

8 comments:

Don Snabulus said...

I don't put much stock in it. There are too many variables and a different sample could potentially yield opposite results.

I also question the value of even doing a study that reinforces stereotypes since people should be judged individually.

The Moody Minstrel said...

The group carrying out the research actually made a point similar to your last one there, i.e. it was meant to show "inclinations" rather than absolutes.

Still, I think a lot of the problem is that an awful lot of people don't want to be judged individually; rather, they seek a "safe" form of self-identification by identifying with a particular group or stereotype.

Freedom of choice...is what you got.
Freedom from choice...is what you want.

Flip Wilson said...

The Devil made me do that!

Pandabonium said...

I would not be just a nuffin'
My head all full of stuffin'
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry
Life would be a ding-a-derry
If I only had a brain--

Maximilian Strange said...

It would be interesting to see a wide variety of psychological profiles like Meyers Briggs and other personality tests to look for other trends.

I translate the study referenced here as conservative don't like change, and liberals want to change everything all the time because obviously, the current system isn't working. That translates directly into politics.

Dean Wormer said...

This also explains the conservative penchant to utilize inductive rather than deductive logic in problems solving.

Swinebread said...

Man that makes sense...

Pandabonium said...

But what about people, such as myself, who don't stick with a liberal or conservative perspective over time? I've always eschewed being labeled but others would label me as "conservative" in my early adult years, and probably "liberal" today (both of those evaluations are bogus in my view). So did my brain change? Was it that time I fell off the tractor?