Thursday, July 23, 2009

Science proves elections are a bad idea

This is Your Brain on Politics

The founders of the United States didn’t have the advantages of fMRI brain imaging and had no concept of the amygdala, but they were hesitant about political parties and political campaigning nonetheless. Fearful that a “torrent of angry and malignant passions will be let loose,” Alexander Hamilton railed against political parties in the first Federalist Paper, saying the parties would try to “increase the number of their converts by the loudness of their declamations and the bitterness of their invectives.”

It turns out there was some reason to be concerned about the relative influence of information versus emotion when it comes to political judgments and affiliations. Though it is impossible to know for sure whether people actually vote along party lines, many psychological studies have shown that political affiliation plays a large role not just in the voting booth but also when people must decide how they feel about political issues.

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