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Brain Differences In Liberals and Conservatives

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the thinking-differently dept.

Democrats 1248

i_like_spam writes "Scientists from NYU and UCLA report in Nature Neuroscience that the brains of Democrats and Republicans process information differently. This new study finds that the differences are apparent even when the brain processes common information, not just political topics. From the study, liberals were more likely to be accurate and showed more brain activity in the region associated with analyzing conflicts. A researcher not affiliated with the study stated, liberals 'could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.' Moreover, '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... as a flip-flopper.'"

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1248 comments

yep (-1, Flamebait)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550343)

conservatives are missing half Flame away - I'm retarded - I mean retardant

They're taught to keep their beliefs (2, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550549)

Don't forget this quote:
"An open mind is like a fortress with its gates unbarred and unguarded."

So yeah, you can flame them as much as you want, they're not going to change that easily.

Not very liberal minded of you (5, Funny)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550625)

You assume one way is better than another. How un-liberal of you.

Re:Not very liberal minded of you (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550829)

You assume one way is better than another. How un-liberal of you.

How? Liberalism is a politico-economic belief system. People almost always believe that their system is more suited than others for dealing with the world. The only folks who believe that no one way is better than any other are the strawman caricatures of a "moral relativist" position appearing in conservative polemic.

Just In! (0, Redundant)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550345)

Breaking News!

Liberals and Conservatives are different!
Who Knew?

Re:Just In! (1, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550405)

What about people like me that are a little of each and some of neither?

Does their study show why Conservatives want to blame all their problems on Mexicans or why Liberals are a bunch of pansies that want to back out of a war we need to win and can win? Or maybe they can say why neither conservatives or liberals are really open to a real discussion about much of anything - they all would rather spout off about their idealology rather than actually working together to study issues and come up with real solutions.

To me the study just seems to indicate that Conservatives are dyslexic. As if we didn't already know that Bush had some sort of speech disorder. Doh.

Re:Just In! (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550505)

Does their study show why Conservatives want to blame all their problems on Mexicans
I resent that, we blame thing on liberals too :P

But in all seriousness those are just stereotypes and doesn't help create open discussion about problems this country may face now or in the future. I am conservative but I believe that we need to be doing somethings differently. Just because someone is conservative doesn't mean they fully support the President and just because someone is Liberal doesn't mean they are "a bunch of pansies that want to back out of a war we need to win". Just because someone defines themselves as a liberal or a conservative or somewhere in between doesn't mean that they fit in that category perfectly.

Re:Just In! (1)

Svippy (876087) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550693)

liberal or a conservative or somewhere in between

Emphasis mine.

Then what happens if you are like me and a socialist? Do I cease to exist!? :O If I don't recall incorrectly, there is a socialistic senator in the senate right now. Think about. Also, I'm Scandinavian, what'd you expect? :}

Re:Just In! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550543)

or why Liberals are a bunch of pansies that want to back out of a war we need to win and can win?
1. It takes great courage to admit you were wrong and back out of the war. It doesn't take great courage to start a war.

2. This war should not be about "winning the war" or being a "pansie", it should be about stopping the suffering of the Iraqi people.

Re:Just In! (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550607)

I agree (even if we are going completely off-topic). Starting the war was a bad idea, but leaving now would probably be even worse. And I say this as one of those "scaredy-cat" Spaniards who voted out the then ruling party because they got us into that clusterfuck. And no, it's not about winning, it's about getting Iraq stable enough for they to finish fixing the problem.

Re:Just In! (1, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550615)

1. It takes great courage to admit you were wrong and back out of the war.
Yes, it certainly does. Assuming, of course, that you *were* wrong. That's pretty well the whole debate about Iraq there, isn't it?

It doesn't take great courage to start a war.
Let's all hope that you're never in a position to find out just how wrong you are.

Re:Just In! (2)

b0z0n3 (1086487) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550839)

It doesn't take great courage to start a war.
Well, that depends if you're going to be at the front line getting shot at - or just sitting in your comfy oval office while someone else is doing all the dying...

Re:Just In! (1)

CaptainZapp (182233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550879)

It doesn't take great courage to start a war.

Let's all hope that you're never in a position to find out just how wrong you are.

Well, dude; I didn't really get the impression that the neocon hawks that started this whole mess had a lot of courage. It's not their necks after all.

Greed? Deception? Lies? Croniism? All of the above? I'd say yes. But sure as hell not courage.

I think the evidence now pretty much indicate what a bunch of lying war-criminal-weasels the current US administration actually is

Re:Just In! (3, Funny)

August_zero (654282) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550701)

"What about people like me that are a little of each and some of neither?"

Simple, you don't exist, now get out of here and stop invalidating the data!

Re:Just In! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550833)

people like me that are


People are "who", not "that".

Re:Just In! (4, Interesting)

JordanL (886154) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550467)

This isn't as bad as the UC Berkley study which basically tried to 'scientifically prove' that Conservatives were mentally impaired... using taxpayer dollars.

I also wonder just what they mean by "Conservative". Ron Paul is the candidate that has made the most sense to me so far, and most consider him FAR right... course most of those people don't know the different between conservative and libertarian, but still.

Re:Just In! (2, Interesting)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550599)

How much do you want to bet that if Conservatives had scored higher for accuracy, the story would be about how Liberals process information faster.

Re:Just In! (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550785)

In new research, scientists offered conservative rats and liberal rats a choice between Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, and a piece of cheese. The outcome surprised no one.

Re:Just In! (1)

rapidmax (707233) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550869)

> brains of Democrats and Republicans process information differently

Do they process information at all?

Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550355)

This is so controversial. . .though I still expect many slashdotters to agree. Been seeing a lot of elitism on here lately :-/

Who whoul have thought? (3, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550359)

From TFA:

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.
Conservatives are conservative while liberals are liberal? O_o?

Like... Whoa!

Could age be a factor? (1, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550361)

A young person who isn't a liberal has no heart. An old person who is has no brain.

So could it be that the mental flexibility of youth makes them more susceptible to liberalism (in the modern usage of the word) than the more experienced minds of the older generations?

Re:Could age be a factor? (5, Insightful)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550431)

actually, according to tfa liberals are better thinkers.
imho old persons become conservative just because of decline of cognitive functions due to old age.

Re:Could age be a factor? (0, Troll)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550475)

actually, according to tfa liberals are better thinkers.
Sounds like the article is saying that liberals are more gullible. AKA credulous.

 

Re:Could age be a factor? (2, Informative)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550529)

RTFA

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.


this means that liberals actually think about what they do and are more accurate because of it.

M appeared four times more frequently than W, conditioning participants to press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter. [..] Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said.


and this means that conservatives have difficulties to gasp changes and understand new ideas (nothing new here).

Re:Could age be a factor? (5, Funny)

node 3 (115640) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550611)

Conservatives [made more mistakes] when they saw a W, researchers said.
Ain't that the truth.

Re:Could age be a factor? (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550665)

this means that liberals actually think about what they do and are more accurate because of it.
No. It means they're better at button pushing.

and this means that conservatives have difficulties to gasp changes and understand new ideas (nothing new here).
No, it means that they find button pushing more interesting and worthwhile of effort.
 

Re:Could age be a factor? (2, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550713)

this means that liberals actually think about what they do and are more accurate because of it.
Or, it could mean that liberals are incapable of learning from previous experience.

and this means that conservatives have difficulties to gasp changes and understand new ideas (nothing new here).
Or, it could just mean that the conservatives are trying to use the experiences of the past to predict the outcome (albiet unsuccessfully, in this test).

Now come on, folks - lets get real here. I've only read a half dozen comments so far, and already people are extrapolating WAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much from a simple test .... has anybody noted that the two people quoted in the article - one referring to "liberal" vs "conservative" way of thinking, and another doing "an analysis" of the study - aren't even connected to the study?

Call me conservative ... but I think I'll wait till I've had a chance to get my hands on a copy of the article before I come to any conclusions.

Uh-uoh - I think I just tolerated some ambiguity .... does that mean I'm not conservative after all?

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550895)

again, RTFA.

Or, it could mean that liberals are incapable of learning from previous experience.


sorry, wrong.
according to the article liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts. so liberals can learn from previous experiences but instead of brainlessly repeating the same routine over and over they compare their experiences with the present reality.

conservatives though cannot learn from previous experience - they choose to ignore the facts.

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

JordanL (886154) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550735)

and this means that conservatives have difficulties to gasp changes and understand new ideas (nothing new here). The results are as open to interpretation as the politics are... Do Conservatives have trouble grasping new ideas, or do Liberals have problems learning from experience?

Sounds like a political argument to me... but then, these guys were scientists afterall. It's not as if Universities are biased, or that scientists have political opinions.

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550813)

and this means that conservatives have difficulties to gasp [sic] changes and understand new ideas (nothing new here).
As currently being demonstrated by John Winston Howard [smh.com.au]

Re:Could age be a factor? (5, Funny)

ErroneousBee (611028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550627)

actually, according to tfa liberals are better thinkers.
imho old persons become conservative just because of decline of cognitive functions due to old age.

No, according to TFA, liberals are faster and more reliable at differentiating between the letter M and the letter W in a timed experiment.

I think we may safely extrapolate, and say that we expect this to be true for all differentiation between objects,
I.e. liberals could tell the difference between:

  • a man, a woman, and cop when propositioning someone in the toilets.
  • a deer and the vice-president when out shooting.
  • a WMD and a big fat nothing.
  • having sexual relations, and just mislaying a cigar.

As for going so far as to say conservatives are slow and stupid. Well, there are many chains to be yanked, but saying that would would be neither fair, nor scientific.

Re:Could age be a factor? (4, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550709)

I think we may safely extrapolate ...
Ah... One of the clarion calls of great science.

 

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550733)

"No, according to TFA, liberals are faster and more reliable at differentiating between the letter M and the letter W in a timed experiment."

I guess you didn't read the same FA the rest of us did. Where did you see that Liberals were faster or that the experiment was timed?

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

JoelKatz (46478) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550653)

It doesn't say they are "better thinkers". It just says that are more *accurate*. The task requires a trade off between speed and accuracy, and Liberals made that trade off differently from Conservatives. (If you have enough details of the study to establish otherwise, please point me to them.)

Re:Could age be a factor? (5, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550667)

actually, according to tfa liberals are better thinkers.
actually, the tfa says nothing like that. It says liberals tolerate ambiguity better, and conservatives think in a more structured manner. Which is better (if at all) would depend on the situation.

imho old persons become conservative just because of decline of cognitive functions due to old age.
imho you're not old enough to have the experience required to know just how valuable experience can be.

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550473)

TFA talks about an experiment which conditions the brain to favor a specific reaction, even if said reaction is incorrect, then tests how well the brain can handle situations in which the conditioned reaction would be incorrect.

Perhaps older generations are more conditioned to be mindless drones and young generation can still think for themselves.

Re:Could age be a factor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550631)

> A young person who isn't a liberal has no heart. An old person who is has no brain.

Those who maintain a balanced but liberal perspective through to old age would surely disagree. It's no accident that the worlds greatest intellects tend towards a liberal bias.

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550685)

An old person who is has no brain.
Nah, but probably a bit of an old lech ;)

Re:Could age be a factor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550787)

I've met dumb "liberals", dumb "conservatives", smart "liberals", and smart "conservatives". The brightest people of all tend to stick with their principles and think for themselves, rather than try to conform to pre-defined stereotypes of left and right.

Re:Could age be a factor? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550899)

A young person who isn't a liberal has no heart. An old person who is has no brain.

You are doing it wrong. It went something as "a young person who isn't a leftist has no heart. An old person who as no brains isn't a conservative". A liberal isn't a leftist and, obviously, that comment about the "brain-less" relation to liberals (or some other group which you dislike) is complete nonsense.

Now that I think of it, the saying is more in the lines of "those who are young and foolish think like you. Those who have matured and wise think like me". Obviously it says a lot more about those who state that nonsense as it is some sort of absolute rule than about the purposed intrinsic philosophical value it is thought to have, which is zero.

Another worthless story (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550385)

Thanks a bunch kdawson.

(I've shown considerable restraint in pointing this out in the last 10 similarly crap stories, but enough is enough.)

Re:Another worthless story (1)

struppi (576767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550423)

What? Worthless? This story has the potential of becoming a nice, long flame war with lots of "+5 Funny" posts (which are the only reason why I read /.)

Re:Another worthless story (1)

petaflop (682818) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550583)

OK, you'll have to explain it to me. Neither the slashdot story, the linked article, or the scientific research are by someone called 'kdawson'. However there is a slashdot called 'kdawson'.

So I'm guessing you are alledging that 'i_like_spam' is a sock puppet of 'kdawson'. Is that right, or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

I note that 'etcetera' makes a similar comment a few posts further down.

Re:Another worthless story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550623)

Right under the headline.

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday September 11, @05:25AM
from the thinking-differently dept.

Re:Another worthless story (0, Troll)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550823)

Read the article:

"Brain Differences In Liberals and Conservatives
Posted by kdawson on 07-09-11 11:25
from the thinking-differently dept."

Yep that moderator kdawson who has infested slashdot with a lot of crackpot stories lately.

This is very good news (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550395)

I'm a liberal and I've always had great difficulty convincing Republicans that I'm right and they are wrong. Thankfully this study tells me that it is because I am smart and they are stupid. Since I am white and male, I look forward to further studies proving women and other races are also inferior to me to explain why they are similarly disobedient. Soon, I hope we shall return to the happy days of the 19th Century where science explained why some people the rulers and others are the ruled. Perhaps we could have a rule where Republican votes count for 3/5ths of Democrat votes, like we did with Negros before the Republicans stirred things up. Or perhaps they could be barred from voting completely, like we used to do for women.

I also hope that when the country has universal health care it will be be possible to abort fetuses with these cognitive disabilities, just like we do for babies with other developmental defects.

No, just kidding. This looks like awful science, just like the 19th Century studies that confirmed the experimenter's prejudices that black people and women were inferior.

Re:This is very good news (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550417)

I agree totally with you! Everone should just do as I tell them. After all , I am smarter than everyone else.

Re:This is very good news (4, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550453)

Something that bugs me is the number of people, liberal and conservative alike, that really believe that just having wealth proves you're more intelligent than the average person and deserve to be in a position of leadership. They don't take into account that some people are born more privledged than others and therefore have an easier path to wealth, that some people have fewer morals to get in their way, or that some people are just lucky. A lot of people really do believe we should be ruled by our corporate overlords even though they think it'd be horrible to be under the thumb of a monarch. To me, that seems to be one of the issues of mass hysteria that is common in todays society. Someday will people be looking at us as if we were idiots in the way we look back at people that let themselves be ruled by monachs and tyrants?

Re:This is very good news (1)

darjien (1154833) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550767)

Could be because that's the American Dream in a nutshell?

Anyone can be successful, right?
And therefore, anyone who doesn't succeed has chosen to fail, and thus is unworthy not just of success, but also of support of any kind, like Medicare, education, or aught else.

Re:This is very good news (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550527)

Haha, mod that post insightful already.

I think we should use that study to deny the right of vote to stupid republicans so that only us smart right-thinking liberals who know everything better than anyone else could decide.

Re:This is very good news (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550755)

"Awful science"? How so? Care to point out the flaws in the study?

Hmmmmmm?

Re:This is very good news (1)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550837)

What exactly is your problem with this research?

Do you think that it isn't appropriate to try to find biological reasons for the differences in political opinions? Even if they exist, and can provide insights into the way people, perhaps people with liberal, conservative or even fundementalist views think.

Or do you disagree somehow with the methodology? In which case perhaps you could volunteer your scientific brilliance to referee future articles for Nature Neurology, which is one of the best neurology journals around.

TFA says nothing about being smart or stupid, and explicitly cautions against such interpretations. If you think that looking for differences between groups of people is inherently and unavoidably prejudicial, then you're wrong. A lot of potentially useful research is currently being help up or prevented by a refusal to acknowledge real differences between people. For example, why a particular group has a higher death rate or more poverty, or indeed seems to produce more political extremeists.

Differences? (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550397)

If there were, then there should be also in Linux and Windows users, as well as in Slashdotters and the rest of the universes.

Coming soon to a water-supply near you! (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550399)

Water-borne gene-therapy to cure you of your genetically inherited political leanings.

Is my tin-foil hat secured tightly enough?

liberals (1, Troll)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550407)

liberals 'could be expected to more readily accept new ... religious ideas.'
I'll admit publicly that, while quite ecumenical and tolerant towards others, I don't really think there have been any new religious ideas of significant value in, say, 2,000-ish years.
On the contrary, when you look at that New Testament in depth, most of the ideas put forth were not terribly new, but were actually pointers to older ideas.

One highly subjective, criminally over-simplified take on the whole liberal/conservative question is: it boils down to one of modeling society. If you want "one big family" then you lean to the left, and want more socialized policies. If you question whether people scale well and want more individual responsibility and less safety net, then you might prefer conservative policies.
I'm looking forward to further research that correlates liberal/conservative preference with population density. It seems that the more urbanized people are, the greater the comfort level with shifting responsibility/authority to the government.
Good news, bad news: who can say?

Re:liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550471)

One highly subjective, criminally over-simplified take on the whole liberal/conservative question is: it boils down to one of modeling society. If you want "one big family" then you lean to the left, and want more socialized policies. If you question whether people scale well and want more individual responsibility and less safety net, then you might prefer conservative policies.


One equally speculative, but more useful (both in a hypothesis generating sense and in a political perspective sense) is Folk Psychological conceptions of Willpower [acceleratingfuture.com] .

Muslims would disagree. (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550521)

, I don't really think there have been any new religious ideas of significant value in, say, 2,000-ish years.
Both Christianity and Islam are basically judaism with a bit added on top. Most people don't know that Islam began in the 7th century, it's younger than both christianity and judaism.

Having said that. I don't think there are any religious ideas of signifcant value. Buddhism I'd class more as philosophy.
 

Re:Muslims would disagree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550857)

Most people don't know that Islam began in the 7th century

You'd be surprised at the number of people who picked up basic facts about middle eastern history in the course of forwarding jingoist email and repeating insulting jokes and myths about Islam.

Re:liberals (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550635)

I don't really think there have been any new religious ideas of significant value in, say, 2,000-ish years.
THINK FOR YOURSELF, SCHMUCK!
JUSTIFIED

Re:liberals (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550721)

I don't really think there have been any new religious ideas of significant value in, say, 2,000-ish years.
Hellooo???
Darwinism, capitalism, Keynesianism, communism, feminism, behaviorilism, nazism freudianism, political correctness...
I could go on and on and on like the words from Billy Joel's "We didn't start the fire".
Religions are like buses - there's a new one along every 20 minutes - cramped, smelly, not running very well, and full of people you wouldn't associate with anywhere else.

Re:liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550811)

I don't really think there have been any new religious ideas of significant value in, say, 2,000-ish years.
Fool! There is now a religion [venganza.org] that has beer volcanoes and stripper factories in heaven. And pirates are holy creatures!

And you think this is insignificant? Blasphemer!

Re:liberals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550835)

I don't really think there have been any new religious ideas of significant value in, say, 2,000-ish years.
Orthodox Christianity
Islam
Protestantism - Church of England, Lutherian, Calvanist, Quakers, etc.
Jehova's Witness
Mormonism

For God's sake... (-1, Troll)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550433)

This really takes the cake, kdawson.

Seriously, how long did it take you to come up with this one? Are you even pretending to be impartial or marginally even-handed any more? This is just pathetic... I've been a reading of Slashdot for forever and this kind of crap (your pattern of stories, namely) ranks up there with Jon Katz in terms of sheer, mindboggling tone-deafness.

Do us all a favor and quit. I hear they're looking for aggregators at the Huffington Post [huffingtonpost.com] . And I'm sure DailyKos [dailykos.com] would love to have you.

Twitch Reflex Testing (1)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550435)

On most games the M-key would open up a map, and the W-key would more your character forward, so... what video game are they playing again?

Hmm... (5, Funny)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550439)

1) Liberals are more likely to smoke pot

2) Pot smokers are more likely to sit around the house

3) People who sit around the house are more likely to play video games

4) People who play video games are more likely to have better hand-eye coordination

5) ???

6) Profit!

Woody Allen's "Everyone Says I Love You" (1)

tucuxi (1146347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550445)

Where the character played by Lukas Haas is originally a rabid republican, until the doctors find that he has a tumor in his head. Once the tumor is removed, he's instantly converted (back) into a left-wing liberal - just like his entire family.

Quotes:
(father) - How did I end up with a kid on the other end of the political spectrum? How did I fail? Steffi, get me a copy of my will... and an eraser.
[... after a long while, right after tumor removed]
(father) - Honey! Bring down a copy of my will... and an eraser!
imdb link here [imdb.com]

Is "liberal" an evolutionary survival trait? (0, Troll)

karl.auerbach (157250) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550451)

(Please take the text below as a non-serious, jest.)

If "liberal" brains are more capable of dealing with changing circumstances, would that not be a trait that increases the change of survival and thus be an trait that is selected-in over time?

In other words, is the conservative brain a recessive trait that, if natural selection were occuring in humans, eventually fade away?

(Remember, I'm saying this in jest.)

Re:Is "liberal" an evolutionary survival trait? (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550491)

The Liberals come across as a bunch of wusses these days. Doesn't seem like a very good survival trait if you won't stand up for the well being of your people and their way of life. Especially when your people are already, by far, the strongest. Call it the eagle laying in the sand waiting for a rattlsnake to come along and bite it to death and being unwilling to defend itself for fear of hurting the snake's feelings or seeming to be a bully.

Liberals are a bunch of wusses? (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550687)

Liberals aren't the folks who got so wound up in paranoia and fear that they cheered on the POTUS to invade a country that had fark all to do with any attacks on the US. Liberals aren't the ones constantly bleating about terrorists and alert levels and all the other nonsense.

But yeah, it's liberals that are the wussy scaredy cats....

Right.

It's maths. (4, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550457)

The only reason you have a black and white Liberal - Conservative divide in the US is the mathematics of how your electoral system works. Other countries with sane electoral systems actually have shades of grey.

 

Re:It's maths. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550769)

But the USA is not going to fix it no matter what.
tradition...
Founding Fathers...
this is how it has always been done...
what the USA does is "obviously" is the best possible way...

Here is a serious proposal how it could be done:
- Make only 50 electoral districts in the whole United States (one district for each state).
- Allocate all the congressional seats of a state using the proportional D'Hondt method. Look it up on Wikipedia. For example Finland uses it and we have eight parties in the parliament.

Re:It's maths. (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550807)

Actually, it's a Conservative/Democrat divide.

Liberalists, as the word is used today, are a populist subsection of conservatives - often quite far to the right. This is far different from what "liberal" means in other countries; a liberal in Europe, for example, would usually be for universal healthcare and education, paid for by the government but provided by private companies, while a liberal in the US would be against money flowing in any other direction than towards himself.

Or, to simplify, a liberalist is a conservative without money, and an anarchist is a socialist with a gun.

Re:It's maths. (1, Insightful)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550831)

Other countries with sane electoral systems actually have shades of grey.

Really?

Name three. France's fractious electoral system was gamed by Le Pen, the UK has Blair. Russian democracy is in retrograde, Italy can't make it through Act II of the opera, and Germany's Grand Coalition conjoins shades of gray at the expense of white and black. China doesn't have elections, and voting in Japan is like choosing Mothra or Gamera. (Hint: Vote Mothra!)

Before you say "You forgot Poland" there are about 100 other countries where people's votes also don't matter, simply because their countries have become less than relevant. I'm looking at you Canada, Australia, and Iraq. LOL!

That leaves you with, I dunno, India, and to be fair I haven't the faintest clue how the "world's largest Democracy" takes care of business. But I have a hunch "money" still buys, well, whatever it wants. Heck, I'm pretty sure skin color still plays a role. Tata, salesman.

(If you disagree with my post, I kindly suggest you mod me down, get a sex change, and move to Darfur.)

Check Out The Control Group (0)

Nymz (905908) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550523)

They used Ron Paul. And while he refused to press any keys at all, he had plenty to say about the government wasting taxpayer money on junk science.

The study concluded that those in the control group, would be recieving very few campaign contributions, from companies that will produce scientific studies to order.

New is relative. (0, Flamebait)

zeda (415) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550579)

A researcher not affiliated with the study stated, liberals 'could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

... like conservatism. For those of us educated in the great liberal arts institutions of higher education, and who only encountered real conservative theory afterwords.

I request that similar standards be applied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550593)

I would like to request that similar standards are applied in terms of testing methodology and foundation for the conclusions drawn and reported when it comes to detecting or disproving any differences between men and women or racial groups.

I am under no illusion what so ever that similar standards will be applied.

A theory (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550601)

I've got a theory: All the 'editors' are actually just Taco in disguise. When he wants to post a certain type of story, he chooses a certain name. When he wants to post a worthless story that everyone will yell about, he posts as kdawson.

trash subject (1)

phayes (202222) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550651)

How come kdawson posts a story like this to slashdot when another study of equivalent academic value (none) shows that $racialgroup1 is more intelligent than $racialgroup2? Because kdawson is a bigot.

Democrats and Republicans? (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550669)

So, this study wouldn't be valid in say... Canada?

You know, there are republicans who may be liberal and democrats who may be conservative. Being one doesn't necessarily mean being the other, like, being chaotic-neutral in D&D.

Also, how does this study work when there's more than just two parties? How are Socialist people different from the Worker Party? How's this make the Green Party Candidate? And what about in countries where there isn't any kind of democracy?

Somehow, I just can't buy this "study".. Is this some kind of Sept 11th joke, like April Fools pranks to celebrate that?

Experimental design (5, Informative)

tucuxi (1146347) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550671)

The linked site is scarce on details - the paper itself is more interesting. First, David Amodio (lead researcher) is not obviously flaming. I'm no expert in neuroscience -- but the data looks good, and he has a track record on usage of scans for similar tasks (most of it race-bias related, but that's another subject).

Here's an interesting part of the experimental design:

To test the hypothesis that political liberalism (versus conservatism) would be associated with greater conict-related ACC activity, we recorded electroencephalographs from 43 right-handed subjects (63% female) as they performed the Go/No-Go task. Subjects reported their political attitudes condentially on a -5 (extremely liberal) to +5 (extremely conservative) scale. This single-item measure has been found to account for approximately 85% of the statistical variance in presidential voting intentions in American National Election studies between 1972 and 2004 (ref. 8). Among participants in the present study who reported voting in the 2004 presidential election, a more liberal (versus conservative) ideological orientation strongly predicted voting for John Kerry versus George Bush (r(21)= 0.79, P o 0.001).

I think that there are two ways in which the experiment may be flawed. One is that 43 persons are not enough to extrapolate to the whole US population; and more importantly, no details are given on how they were chosen. If they were chosen among colleagues in an academic setting, where most people (your mileage may vary) are left-wing, you may have problems finding people which self-describe as conservative. These few would be most resistant to changing their viewpoints, I would guess -- since otherwise they may have flipped from exposure to liberal arguments.

Another way in which I think the study may be flawed is by asking people to self-define their position in the political spectrum -- a one-dimensional political spectrum. What guarantees do you have that participants really are "conservative" or "liberal" (whatever that means to you), and have actually thought about the political issues involved in each "choice" (as if there weren't many, many greys)?. A 2-dimensional political positioning would provide more insight. A short questionnaire where participants actually had to think, instead of "choosing their favorite color" would have been even better.

This is assuming that the researcher knows what he's doing, and the

conflict-related ACC activity was indexed by two ERP components. ERPs are scalp-recorded voltage changes reflecting the concerted firing of neurons in response to a psychological event.
is actually a good measure of resistance to change or willingness to accomodate it. No details are provided on the exact activity, other than stating that parcicipants were offered the choice of two actions, "Go" and "No-Go".

You can find the full article at the author's lab website [nyu.edu] .

I don't know where to begin... (2, Interesting)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550737)

Fine submissions like these cause me to wonder if perhaps the recent upswing in anti-kdawson sentiment isn't entirely unjustified...

The headline and summary was so priceless that I just had to read TFA. I assumed that TFS had as usual grossly mischaracterized TFA. This was, however, not the case (yay L.A. Times!). The thing that jumped out at me was that this study was conducted on a bunch of college students (i.e. undergrads looking for extra credit in intro psych classes) at UCLA and NYU. If you consider the percentage of liberal students at UCLA, I wonder if there might not be just a tad of selection bias inherent here...not to mention the libertarian objection that the political spectrum is poorly characterized in a linear fashion.

Although I couldn't find the original paper, this other article [chicagotribune.com] (no registration with google referrer) was more informative, quoting someone who actually was connected with the study, and another psych professor who points out that this study (of 43 students) might not be the pinnacle of statistical rigor.

On the other hand, I guess we can feel fully justified in drawing conclusions about conservatives students NYU and UCLA ;). I know that my own alma mater can count Ann Coulter, for one, amongst the 15 or so of its alumni who were strongly republican as undergrads...Ironically, this study will probably promote its own conclusion, though, when Prof. Amodio becomes the core of a republican talking point on the apparent liberal bias of America's university faculties.

Re:I don't know where to begin... (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550805)

If Slashdot had editors then I suppose this "the recent upswing in anti-kdawson sentiment" would be justified. However Slashdot does not have editors, it has copyists. These copyists wade trough the cesspool that is the "firehose" and select submissions that will be put on the front page and copy them there. I suspect this process is more a matter of elimination than of selection.

This being the case all this kdawson whining comes off being stupid and pointless. Not that have a overwhelming crush on this person... it just doesn't matter.

Liberals : Open Minded to All Their Ideas! (1, Flamebait)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550789)

You know, its funny, but liberals are only open minded to their own ideas, just as much as conservatives are, and there's not a damn bit of difference between the two on that score.

  It's just that liberals are more likely to be religious fruitcakes when it comes to their own "religion" of PC whereas conservatives are more likely to be cheating on theirs. Whose more screwed up in the head, the enviro-liberal who really does recycle the potato skins into blankets for baby, or a conservative that says fags suck and then, ya find out that he's a fag that does.

Re:Liberals : Open Minded to All Their Ideas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550847)

"It's just that liberals are more likely to be religious fruitcakes when it comes to their own "religion" of PC whereas conservatives are more likely to be cheating on theirs."

haha do you even know what the fuck you're talking about?

different study: religious / schizophrenic (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550849)

There's a study I'd really like to see: how, if at all, does the brain function differently in the significantly religious and schizophrenic? I've lived in close proximity with both and do not see any difference. In both, there's a point at which no amount of reason or evidence can penetrate the delusions. This is not a matter of intelligence otherwise, but at some point their ability to reason simply stops, and is replaced by "magic knowledge". My observations, however, are not a proper study. Brain imaging during a process of exposition that leads to a conclusion contrary to the subjects' beliefs might expose similarities (and differences) in regional usage.

A slightly different view.... (1)

notclevernickname (1152517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20550875)

What about the fact that the liberals in America (Democrats) tend to be composed at a higher percentage of racial and social minorities than the conservatives? Wouldn't having a diverse pool of thought on various issues cause liberals to consider alternatives, whereas conservatives tending to have less division as a group make it easier to stick to a viewpoint?

Prediction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550891)

I have a prediction concerning this story.
Liberals will like it. Conservatives will not. Just the wording of the story shows bias.

Considering the source of the study, NYU, I'm having difficulty in believing their sample was unbiased.

Suppose the story said that liberals were 81.37% more likely than conservatives to have ADD, what then?

Or that "intellectuals" are smart people who can't do math. Engineers are smart people who can.

Tag Article Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20550893)

If ever an article deserved to be flagged troll, this is it.
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