Friday, September 19, 2008


Headline of the Day: Nervous people ...

Nervous people 'are likely to be right-wing' —story in The Independent

Evidence is growing that right-wingery is congenital. The author of a recent study avers—

Although political views have been thought to arise largely from individuals' experiences, recent research suggests a possible biological basis.

The study, reported in Science,

investigated 46 Americans with strong opinions spanning the political spectrum who were tested for their physiological responses to a range of visually threatening pictures and loud noises.

"Subjects with measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism and gun control," Dr Hibbing said.

"Whereas individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favour defence spending, capital punishment, patriotism and the Iraq war," he said.

They were shown three threatening images – a large spider on a frightened face, a dazed individual covered in blood and an open wound filled with maggots – interspersed with neutral images and three non-threatening images, such as a bowl of fruit and a happy child.

The researchers should be more careful in selecting their "non-threatening" stimuli. Some of the Wingers of my acquaintance would be alarmed by a bowl of fruit —the homosexual agenda, you know—and may very well feel that the child needs more discipline, since smiling can indicate that the child has not yet learned to fear God.

A question not answered by the study is whether scaring these scaredy-cats makes them more likely to vote. The Republican Party and I suspect so.

Could Xanax be the answer to progressives' prayers? Or would it only mask the symptoms?

Related post
Thinking about death? Vote Bush! (8/1/04)


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