Re: About discussing Social Impact etc. [WAS Re: KILL-subTHREAD: Joshua Fox]

From: BillK (
Date: Tue Feb 07 2006 - 14:13:41 MST

On 2/7/06, Richard Loosemore wrote:
> Or is it simply impossible to talk about this at all?
> I suspect the latter.


Political brain driven by emotion
By Stephen Benz
Contributing Writer
February 03, 2006

Selected quotes:

The subjects were easily able to spot the contradictions of the
opposing party's candidate. How they encountered the contradictions of
their own candidates, however, is what interested the researchers.

Rather than analyzing the candidate's statements with the rational
parts of their brain, partisans tended to process the contradictions
of the candidate from their party with parts typically associated with

Drew Westen, the lead researcher and director of the clinical
psychology department, said this is how the brain deals with
politically-based facts.

"When people draw conclusions about political events, they are not
just weighing the facts, they are weighing what would make them feel
better, no matter what the facts are," he said. "Essentially, it
appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they
get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced
for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and
activation of positive ones," Westen said in a press release.

Westen said in an interview that some groups already take advantage of
people's tendency to make emotionally based judgments. He said some
cable talkshows, such as CNN's "Crossfire," take advantage of
emotionally-based thinking to attract an audience.

"We have grown accustomed to hearing two versions of every story, one
from the left and one from the right, as if the average of two
distortions equals the truth," he said in an interview. "
Unfortunately, this format of 'from the left, from the right'
capitalizes on a design flaw in the brain."

End quotes.


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