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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-13-11 11:45 PM
Original message
Conservative's Brains are Wired for Fear and Anxiety
http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20110413/NEWS02/110419...

Brain activity linked to political beliefs, neuroscientists say

This may be nothing new to political consultants, but neuroscientists seem to be catching up with the notion that the partisan loyalties of hearts and minds are at least in part dictated by how big, and how active, certain structures of the brain are.

The latest study to support this was published online by the journal Current Biology on April 7, and based on brain imaging of 90 student volunteers (55 of them women) at University College London.

After establishing their political orientation -- very liberal to very conservative on a four-point scale -- through a standard survey of each student, the researchers zeroed in on images of several brain regions thought to guide political leaning.

-snip

In both cases, the researchers found that those holding conservative views tend to have larger amygdale, the almond-shaped organ in the center of the brain that's linked to fear, anxiety and emotion; and a smaller-than-average anterior cingulate, a region of the brain linked to sorting through conflicting information and maintaining a more optimistic outlook. The opposite was true for subjects identified as liberal.

More...
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-13-11 11:50 PM
Response to Original message
1. What is far more telling for me...
"...a region of the brain linked to sorting through conflicting information..."

Goes a long, long way toward explaining why they're so rigid in their thinking. I detest rigid thinking.
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Keith Bee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Um...like...whaddaya mean?
I luvs mah gun. LUVS mah gun!

;P
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 03:45 AM
Response to Reply #1
32. agreed
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Mz Pip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-13-11 11:50 PM
Response to Original message
2. that's a really small sampling
not sure if such a small sampling can produce really valid results but it is interesting. Certainly worth further study.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-13-11 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. This is abominable
Any attempt to link biology and political opinion will be abused. Guaranteed. Anyone performing this work is an heir to Josef Mengele and ought to be treated appropriately.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:02 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Here you go, Mr. Wiesenthal.
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Marr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:04 AM
Response to Reply #3
8. Not at all. Nothing's off limits to scientific inquiry.
If the methodology is sound, it's legitimate research.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:15 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. The methodology stinks
I once did a class project with a similar sample size, which was soundly panned by the instructor and held up as an example of the flaws of drawing conclusions from an insufficient sample. That anyone would claim that a sample size of 90 individuals has any statistical significance at all betrays that they are in the business of advocating something and not in the business of conducting sound science.

Beware charlatans who clothe themselves in the mantle of science. As ignorance continues to spread, their numbers and success rate are increasing dramatically.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. What's better?
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 12:35 AM by OnyxCollie
A small n case study based on many observations, or a large n case study based on few observations?

Take the time to learn about efficiency and bias.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. If n is small enough no number of observations is sufficient
You cannot generalize from too small a population because a single unusual sample element can wildly skew your results. This holds true no matter how many observations you perform.

Let's say I have 100 people in a test, and I give them all a very difficult math problem. One of those people is a math wizard, a budding Einstein; the rest are average performers at math. Every time I test, the only person to get the question correct is the math wizard. If I keep testing, my sample size remains constant and I get the same results every time.

If I were therefore to say that, as a result of this test, we can expect 1% of the population to be able to solve an arbitrary wicked-hard math problem, that would clearly be incorrect.

As demonstrated by this example, the implication that many observations can make up for a too-small sample size is erroneous. The sample itself might be unusual and no amount of retesting can correct that problem; only by gaining a large enough sample size where a single individual's variation cannot significantly affect the result can you draw any scientific conclusion with confidence.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. Not all research is quantitative.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 01:44 AM by OnyxCollie
If our single case study is composed of only one observation, then it is obviously inferior to our 25-observation study. But case-study researchers have significant advantages, which are easier to understand if formalized. For example, we would first select our community very carefully in order to make sure that it is especially representative of the rest of the country or that we understand the relationship of this country to the others. We might ask a few residents or look at newspaper reports to see whether it was an average community or whether some nonsystematic factor had caused the observation to be atypical, and then we might adjust the observed level of conflict, . This would be the most difficult part of the case-study estimator, and we would need to be vary careful that bias does not creep in. Once we are reasonably confident that bias is minimized, we could focus on increasing efficiency. ... Following these procedures, we could collect far more than twenty-five observations within this one community and generate a case study that is also not biased and more efficient than the twenty-five community study.

King, G., Keohane, R. O., & Verba, S. (1994). Designing social inquiry: Scientific inference in qualitative research (pp. 67-68). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Perhaps, but that has nothing to do with the instant case
In fact, the sample was not carefully selected, but selected itself - volunteers. Read the OP - this "study" is a dismal excuse for science and ought to be greeted with a revocation of research grants.

20 years ago this stuff couldn't be passed off as science. It is a tragedy of ignorance that it can be so passed off today.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:31 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. "Anyone performing this work is an heir to Josef Mengele."
Your concern is duly noted, Captain Credibility.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:34 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. As is yours
Interesting that you have suddenly switched from an attempt to appear scientifically credible to straight ad hominem. I'll accept that as an ungracious admission of the correctness of my statements.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:41 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. No, I just got tired of your bullshit.
From the OP:

After establishing their political orientation -- very liberal to very conservative on a four-point scale -- through a standard survey of each student, the researchers zeroed in on images of several brain regions thought to guide political leaning.


Wow. Just like I wrote about in the above post, which you dismissed as having nothing to do with this case.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:55 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. No, you understand you are wrong and now are trying to save face
It's cool. At least understanding you are wrong - admitted or not - puts you heads and tails above many others who swallow this pseudo-scientific grant-seeking charlatanry on a daily basis.

This is what you wrote, by the way:


For example, we would first select our community very carefully in order to make sure that it is especially representative of the rest of the country or that we understand the relationship of this country to the others.


Obviously when the community is made up of volunteers, as the article states, there's no careful selection going on, the sample is selecting itself; so the rest of the paragraph you quoted, whether true or untrue (and on that I have no particular opinion), simply does not apply to the case at hand.


If this were an actual scientific study, the establishment of political orientation would have been the last thing done, not the first thing done, as doing it beforehand predisposes the rest of the observations to bias based on the researcher's opinions.


You may wonder why I am so obstinately pressing the point. One, sloppy garbage like this "study" pisses me off as a waste of precious resources and as a mispractice of science. Two, whenever I see something like this I ask myself, what will the next George Bush do with it? Allow this type of "research" to proceed on the public dime and the next thing you will see is biological tests for political opinion. It's a very short hop from testing for drugs to testing for something else.

"Yes, you are perfectly qualified for the job, but our corporate policy is not to hire liberals, and your test came up positive for compassion."

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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:03 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Did they take all the volunteers?
Or were some not used? Hmm? Tell me. You've got all the answers.

Not every call made during phone surveys are used either.

Why the fuck am I wasting time with you?

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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:09 AM
Response to Reply #22
23. They don't say
But it doesn't matter since even if they further selected, they are selecting from a biased sample to begin with.

I'd guess they did take all the volunteers, or almost all of them, because otherwise we'd probably see a more even male/female distribution amongst them.

Maybe you're "wasting time" with me because you're learning something.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:17 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. I've learned that you are afraid Nazis will prevent you from being hired.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:38 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. Well then I guess I learned something too
which is that I may as well ignore you now because you are incapable of conducting intellectual dialogue.

Have a nice day... moron.
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OnyxCollie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:44 AM
Response to Reply #25
26. THE DAMN NAZIS WON'T GIVE ME A JOB!!1!
:crazy: :silly:

:rofl:
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:46 AM
Response to Reply #26
27. Are you sure you sampled enough of them?
Maybe it's only volunteer Nazis who won't give you a job

:+ :evilgrin: :spank:
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:59 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. Ummm, hey guys? Mostly I just posted this
because it's funny.
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notesdev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. Turned out to be even funnier than you expected eh?
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Truth2Tell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:43 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. That's the beauty of DU.
:P
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Maru Kitteh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 01:48 AM
Response to Reply #12
20. Let's be honest. A smaller n allows for greater bias of the reporting party
A great number of small samples may be easily skewed by criteria - a small number of large samples..... not so much.
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Marr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. I'm not defending the methodology of this particular study.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 12:43 AM by Marr
I'm saying that delicate subjects should not be off limits to scientific inquiry, and people who study such subjects don't deserve to be marginalized.
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Mojeoux Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-13-11 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Yay for Big Bad Anterior Cingulates!
My outlook is optimized by your post. I do, however think this sucks for when you may be trying to communicate with them.


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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-13-11 11:58 PM
Response to Original message
5. This means we need to begin breeding in large numbers. Starting now.
:evilgrin:
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mindwalker_i Donating Member (836 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
9. This is your conservative brain


on fear and loathing.

Any questions?
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Maru Kitteh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
11. Then we have a few misplaced conservatives right here on DU.
Read a post a few minutes ago here by someone who was afraid to/warned against the replacement of an 02 sensor in a car because the part comes from *DUN DUN DUN* ....................... JAPAN!!! OMG - the horrors.

Because buying a tiny car part manufactured in a 1,420,000 square mile country experiencing a nuclear crisis in about 1/1000 of that AT THE MOST is probably going to kill your whole family or something. Like they made this little car part out of the smelted remains of the ruined reactors.

I remember the Lou Dobbs defenders who were in spastic knots over ILLEGAL ALIENS and the GRAVE THREAT they posed.

There is an element of the population in general not happy unless their personal anxiety meters are pegged at 12 out of 10 and they are often outraged when you do not follow suit. God forbid you challenge their hysteria.

I think there are more of them on the right - but we have our own too.
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franzia99 Donating Member (479 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-17-11 03:44 AM
Response to Original message
31. k & r
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