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The Ideological Animal

The Ideological Animal
Cinnamon Stillwell never thought she'd be the founder of a political organization. She certainly never expected to start a group for conservatives, most of whom became conservatives on the same day—September 11, 2001. She organized the group, the 911 Neocons, as a haven for people like her—"former lefties" who did political 180s after 9/11. Stillwell, now a conservative columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle , had been a liberal her whole life, writing off all Republicans as "ignorant, intolerant yahoos." Disgusted, she looked elsewhere. In 2005, she wrote a column called "The Making of a 9/11 Republican." We tend to believe our political views have evolved by a process of rational thought, as we consider arguments, weigh evidence, and draw conclusions. Most people are surprised to learn that there are real, stable differences in personality between conservatives and liberals—not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament. Related:  The Left vs. Right Partisan Dividetortila90

Life's Extremes: Democrat vs. Republican | Genetics & Political Views | Liberals & Conservatives | Political Ideology In this weekly series, LiveScience examines the psychology and sociology of opposite human behavior and personality types. The red meat is flying in the Republican presidential nomination battle, which sees its first caucus-goer and voter results early next month. Given the United States' starkly divided political climate, one might think it obvious that fundamental, built-in differences exist between Democrats and Republicans. According to early poll results from psychology and neuroscience, you'd be right. "There are converging lines of evidence for brain regions that make sense as biological correlates for political attitudes," said Darren Schreiber, a professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego. Yet ideology stems from more than a slightly oversized or under-functioning brain region, researchers say. But some individuals do become quite fixed in their political opinions. Ideology, by the numbers A blue or red brain? Political dynasties

Mapping hate speech: homophobia and racism on twitter | News Here on the data team, we tend to be skeptical about the accuracy of semantic analysis. But the students and professors at Humboldt State University who produced this map read the entirety of the 150,000 geo-coded tweets they analysed. Using humans rather than machines means that this research was able to avoid the basic pitfall of most semantic analysis where a tweet stating 'the word homo is unacceptable' would still be classed as hate speech. The data has also been 'normalised', meaning that the scale accounts for the total twitter traffic in each county so that the final result is something that shows the frequency of hateful words on Twitter. The only question that remains is whether the views of US Twitter users can be a reliable indication of the views of US citizens. Tell us what you think by posting a comment below. • Who made this?

Study finds left-wing brain, right-wing brain Exploring the neurobiology of politics, scientists have found that liberals tolerate ambiguity and conflict better than conservatives because of how their brains work. In a simple experiment reported todayin the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at New York University and UCLA show that political orientation is related to differences in how the brain processes information. 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. The results show "there are two cognitive styles -- a liberal style and a conservative style," said UCLA neurologist Dr. Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." Frank J. "Does this mean liberals and conservatives are never going to agree?" denise.gellene@latimes.com

Liberal vs. Conservative Values - a Comparison | News-Basics This page has not been updated recently. We hope to come back with new and updated articles in the future. Liberal and conservative values in conflict If you listen to liberal or conservative commentators exclusively, you may think there’s only one correct point of view, and the other end of the political spectrum is populated by wackos, evil schemers, and fools. It’s comfortable to think that truth resides exclusively on your side of the divide—but let’s try a mental experiment. Let’s assume that most people, whatever their politics, sincerely believe in their ideals, and that those ideals aren’t all misguided. [Note: Not all liberals and conservatives would agree with every tenet listed here—but these are the beliefs that generally define the two groups.] On the social safety net The liberal view • There are people in this world who need help. The conservative view • People are responsible for themselves—and, given the chance, they’re capable of supporting themselves and their families.

Gray matter: liberal brains vs. conservative brains Have you been watching C-Span? I can’t stop. To mark the Friday expiration of a temporary budget resolution (and perhaps an end to the stalemate that threatens to shut the federal government down), here’s a little liberal versus conservative neuroanatomy. Researchers claim to have found differences in brain structure between people who identify themselves as either politically conservative or liberal. Ryota Kanai and colleagues from University College London recruited 90 young adults, who had to rate their political philosophy from very liberal to very conservative. Then the researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look inside their brains. Liberals tended to have a larger anterior cingulate cortex – an area that becomes active in situations involving conflict or uncertainty. Just looking at brain scans, the researchers say they could predict who was liberal and who was conservative with about 75% accuracy. As ScienceNOW reports:

Look How Far We've Come Apart In the witches’ brew of fearmongering, unkeepable promises and poll-tested metaphors that both parties serve up to the electorate every four years, you can always find this predictable dash of inspiration: the image of Americans uniting and working together for the sake of the country. President Obama said in Charlotte, N.C. that America is “about what can be done by us, together.” In Tampa, Paul Ryan said, “Whatever your political party, let’s come together for the sake of our country.” And Mitt Romney closed his convention speech with three invocations of “That America, that united America.” But America is not united and it is getting less and less unitable with each passing decade.

Conservative Left Brain, Liberal Right Brain It gets worse. In another split-brain case, while the patient was fighting with his wife, his left hand was trying to strangle her while his right hand was trying to stop his left hand. Had this man's brain not been split, no doubt the struggle would have been waged within his brain itself, and not between his hands. This illustrates how differently the left and right brains behave when they are not influenced by each other. The left brain is a dopamine-oriented world unto itself. By monosemantic, we mean the "single-mindedness", or single meaning of a particular memory or stimulus. The monosemantic nature of the left brain is consistent with its syntactical and arithmetical functionality. The right brain is a norepinephrine-oriented world, and as such, has certain advantages over its rigid next door neighbor. The left-brain seeks to avoid internal contradictions in its analysis of the environment. The right brain does very well with new and unusual stimuli. The Empathetic Liberal

theconversation Is the field of social psychology biased against political conservatives? There has been intense debate about this question since an informal poll of over 1,000 attendees at a social psychology meeting in 2011 revealed the group to be overwhelmingly liberal. Formal surveys have produced similar results, showing the ratio of liberals to conservatives in the broader field of psychology is 14-to-1. Since then, social psychologists have tried to figure out why this imbalance exists. The primary explanation offered is that the field has an anticonservative bias. I believe that a less prominent explanation is more compelling: learning about social psychology can make you more liberal. ‘Homo libertus’ becomes a social psychologist I used to be a libertarian. I believed that people should have every opportunity to make their own choices, and should bear the full responsibility of the consequences of those choices. Click to enlarge Case study #1: gun control Case study #2: Charity

Psychology Study: Fear Leads to Conservatism This is a fascinating study 20 years in the making of the psychology of what makes us lean a certain way. I recommend reading all of it, but here are some highlights: In 1969, Berkeley professors Jack and Jeanne Block embarked on a study of childhood personality, asking nursery school teachers to rate children's temperaments. They weren't even thinking about political orientation. Twenty years later, they decided to compare the subjects' childhood personalities with their political preferences as adults. Psychologists John Jost of New York University, Dana Carney of Harvard, and Sam Gosling of the University of Texas have demonstrated that conservatives and liberals boast markedly different home and office decor. The most comprehensive review of personality and political orientation to date is a 2003 meta-analysis of 88 prior studies involving 22,000 participants. Liberals, on the other hand, are "more likely to see gray areas and reconcile seemingly conflicting information," says Jost.

What Makes You Liberal Or Conservative? Fear In Both Cases, Says Study No matter where you are on the political spectrum, says a new Northwestern University study in the Journal of Research in Personality, you're motivated by fear. Political conservatives worry about fear of chaos and absence of order while political liberals operate out of a fear of emptiness, they say. How did they arrive at those conclusions? "Social scientists long have assumed that liberals are more rational and less fearful than conservatives, but we find that both groups view the world as a dangerous place," says McAdams. Like the Northwestern study, the preponderance of research finds that conservatives fear unchecked human impulses that challenge the status quo. "Political conservatives envision a world without God in which baser human impulses go unchecked, social institutions (marriage, government, family) fall apart and chaos ensues," says McAdams. The study findings may shed light on why conservatives prefer more authoritarian leaders while liberals do not, he adds.

Conservatives Scare More Easily Than Liberals, Say Scientists | Wired Science Deep-seated political differences aren’t simply moral and intellectual: They’re also biological. In reflex tests of 46 political partisans, psychologists found that conservatives were more likely than liberals to be shocked by sudden threats. Accompanying the physiological differences were deep differences on hot-button political issues: military expansion, the Iraq war, gun control, capital punishment, the Patriot act, warrantless searches, foreign aid, abortion rights, gay marriage, premarital sex and pornography. "People are experiencing the world, experiencing threat, differently," said University of Nebraska political scientist John Hibbing. "We have very different physiological orientations." The study, published today in Science, has not yet been duplicated, but adds a potentially troubling piece to the puzzle of biology, behavior and politics. Study co-author Kevin Smith, also a University of Nebraska political scientist, demurred at making such a connection. See Also:

Low IQ & Conservative Beliefs Linked to Prejudice There's no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy. The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle, according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, Hodson wrote in an email to LiveScience. "Prejudice is extremely complex and multifaceted, making it critical that any factors contributing to bias are uncovered and understood," he said. Controversy ahead The findings combine three hot-button topics. Brains and bias As suspected, low intelligence in childhood corresponded with racism in adulthood. A study of averages

Back to God with Camille Paglia Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3) The route to a renaissance of the American fine arts lies through religion… When a society becomes all-consumed in the provincial minutiae of partisan politics, as has happened in the US over the past 20 years, all perspective is lost. Great art can be made out of love for religion, as well as rebellion against it. But a totally secularized society with contempt for religion sinks into materialism and self-absorption and gradually goes slack, without leaving an artistic legacy.Camille Paglia, “Religion and the Arts in America”, A lecture at Colorado College, February 2007, available on CSPAN This is for nother, who wrote on the site a year ago that he’d be happy to hear Camille and Chris “discuss a grilled cheese sandwich.” Yes, conversations with Camille Paglia tend to go everywhere… and we’ll surely get to the Edwardses, the Clintons, the Giulianis and the rise of a compelling new presidential persona in the brownskinned JFK, Barack Obama. S.

The Generation Gap Is Back IN a partisan country locked in a polarizing campaign, there is no shortage of much discussed divisions: religious and secular, the 99 percent and the 1 percent, red America and blue America. But you can make a strong case that one dividing line has actually received too little attention. It’s the line between young and old. Draw it at the age of 65, 50 or 40. Wherever the line is, the people on either side of it end up looking very different, both economically and politically. The generation gap may not be a pop culture staple, as it was in the 1960s, but it is probably wider than it has been at any time since then. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, younger and older adults voted in largely similar ways, with a majority of each supporting the winner in every presidential election. Beyond political parties, the two have different views on many of the biggest questions before the country. Their optimism is especially striking in the context of their economic troubles. Shortly after Mr.

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