Neuroscience and Party


Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution.

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2 Responses

  1. Christopher Carr says:

    “This doesn’t account for moderates, nor does it take into account extreme fanatics of both wings, where we start to see mental instability confounding the group traits. Both sides have a little extremity and their fair share of imbalanced individuals in the fringes, so don’t assume any one party is immune.”

    So I’m pretty big on the neurodiversity movement and I’m putting even more cards in that basket if she’s saying here that active members of political parties are “mentally stable”.

    Also, this is about group identification, right? It seems like she forgets the total and complete arbitrarity of our current political bipolarity. I’m curious how Whigs and Tories, Trotskyites and Stalinists, Blues and Greens, Maoists and Chiang Kai-Shekians might fit in. Because I’d propose without looking at any neuroimaging studies that party allegiance boils down to nothing more than how one defines his in-group.Report

  2. Patrick Cahalan says:

    I think signaling is a big part of it. It also doesn’t account for results from traditional psychology, like the sunk cost fallacy.

    If the mind is predisposed to reject data confounding emotionally held beliefs, how does that fit in this model? Maybe it does, but there’s some work to do there: does enlarged amygdala accelerate this process? Does having an active anterior cingulate cortex dampen the effect, or make it worse?

    ‘Cause I gotta say, your boilerplate liberal doesn’t seem to be swayed much by data when it contradicts their stance on something any more than your boilerplate conservative.Report