Bestselling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today's Republicans reject reality—it's just part of who they. Certain to spark discussion and debate, The Republican Brain also promises to add to the . He pulled up a pdf opinion piece on a Blog. Start by marking “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality” as Want to Read: Bestselling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today's Republicans reject reality—it's just part of who they are.
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Republicans (conservatives) did not differ, their brain activity did. .. Supporting Information. Appendix S1. (PDF). Author Contributions. Friends of Democracy Corps. From: Stan Greenberg and James Carville. Mapping the Republican Brain. Six underlying attitudinal dimensions. The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science — and Reality is a book . Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
They just make proteins. Well, here it is tougher. The reality is that we are the product of both biological and cultural evolution, that we are constrained by our genetic makeup, and that everything we think and do is mediated by our brains.
But our political opinions do change, both over our lifespan and sometimes from an election to the next, and they change because we can be persuaded through a variety of means, some of which even include rational discourse!
So, let us certainly look at the science of politics, but let us also not neglect to engage each other on the issues whenever possible, and as reasonably as we can manage. Neurotrash Hank Campbell at Science2. Then they map the left-right skew to how drunk people are. Total woo, right? Yet he is no cynical opportunist.
He believes the stuff he says, just like Ann Coulter does.
If you read Science 2. They distrust the humanities — and social psychology belongs more there than it does in the same buildings as science which is why, if you visit more campuses, they are actually over with the humanities.
Mooney, Chris From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Financial Times. Retrieved Under attack". The New York Times. USA Today Column. So Kuban is roughly right; motivated reasoning has different roots then political ideology does. But … one of Altemeyer's findings is that, in fact, one is more likely to find authoritarians among conservatives then among liberals, at least in the US. This shouldn't be that surprising, given the disproportionate role of authoritarian leaders in their world.
Still, it pays to keep an eye out for these people all over the political spectrum. Man is a Rationalizing Animal.
For example, self-described conservatives tend to score higher on personality tests in terms of Conscientiousness, which is characterized by high levels of self-discipline, dutifulness, and organization. Self-described liberals, meanwhile, tend to score higher on Openness to Experience, which is characterized by an inclination towards novelty, variety, and creativity.
The idea that conservatives and liberals tend to have different temperaments is hardly new. You can find hints of the idea in sources ranging from Thomas Sowell's A Conflict of Visions to ordinary political humor.
As with any generalization, there will be exceptions; some liberals will be highly conscientious while some conservatives will be highly experiential. Overall we should not be surprised that conservatives tend to be overrepresented in fields that prize conscientiousness such as business and the military , while liberals are more drawn to experiential areas such as the arts and the academy.
In addition, there is a great deal of psychological research establishing that, pace Aristotle, man is not only a rational animal but is also a rationalizing animal, particularly when it comes to politics.
When confronted with evidence that goes against their pre-existing beliefs, people do not respond by objectively evaluating it. Instead, they tend to respond emotionally, attacking or dismissing contrary views however possible, while credulously accepting any evidence or authorities that seem to support their view.
Anyone who has spent time arguing politics on the Internet will not be surprised at this finding. Again, these are tendencies, not universals.
The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, whose book The Righteous Mind covers some of the same ground as The Republican Brain but without the partisan overlay uses the metaphor of a rider sitting atop a giant elephant. The rider is our reason; the elephant, our instincts, emotions, and psychological needs. Are Conservatives Worse?
Where The Republican Brain departs from Haidt and other social psychologists is in claiming that conservatives are more likely to engage in motivated reasoning in defense of their politics.
Mooney devotes a good part of the book arguing that modern day conservatives are wrong on a whole host of issues ranging from global warming to the effect of Obamacare on the federal deficit. For obvious reasons, these arguments are more likely to appeal to those who share Mooney's liberal politics.
But even if he were right in every case, this wouldn't be sufficient to justify the claim that conservatives are inherently more biased. To do that, you would have to show conservatives have been more biased and anti-scientific over the whole scope of human history. When one considers left-wing sympathy for pseudo-scientific theories such as Marxist economics, Lysenkoist biology, or Freudian psychoanalysis, there is reason to be skeptical. The "asymmetry thesis" also runs contrary to social psychologists' understanding of how motivated reasoning works.
Dan Kahan recently summed up this point nicely: People have a big stake--emotionally and materially--in their standing in affinity groups consisting of individuals of like-minded goals and outlooks.
Because these groups aren't either "liberal" or "conservative"--indeed, aren't particularly political at all--it would be odd if this dynamic would manifest itself in an ideologically skewed way in settings in which the relevant groups are ones defined in part by commitment to common political or cultural outlooks.
To support his thesis, Mooney cites a meta-analysis of 88 separate surveys comparing personality and political views, conducted by a team of psychologists headed by John Jost of New York University. The Jost study found conservatives were more likely to exhibit dogmatism, intolerance of ambiguity, and general closed-mindedness.
Since liberals are more open to experience, Mooney argues, it stands to reason that they would be more open to contrary points of view, and so will feel less need to use motivated reasoning to swat down evidence that conflicts with their own cherished beliefs.
Failing the Test. In the last chapter of The Republican Brain , Mooney describes a study he helped design and carry out along with Everett Young, a psychology post-doc. I went to high school with Drew Brees and think he is a great quarterback. Given the human tendency to confirmation bias, one would expect participants not to change their minds much, and to find the essays that supported their views more persuasive than the ones that did not.
What set the LSU study apart was that it specifically looked at whether this sort of bias was higher for conservatives on non-political subjects. There is only one problem. The LSU study failed to find any correlation between political ideology and the tendency to engage in motivated reasoning on non-political subjects. While the book doesn't report findings as to openness, correspondence with Everett Young confirmed that higher openness to experience was not associated with lower motivated reasoning.
That, at any rate, is the conclusion his co-author seems to have come to. Conservatives criticizing The Republican Brain can be dismissed as utterly predictable. Josiah Neeley Posted at 3: Squarely Rooted 7: Dave Nussbaum Nathanael 7: EdMigPer