Monday, November 19, 2007

This Is Your Brain on Politics

Is there anything worse than a swing voter? You can look at the two major parties and not see some differences? You can't decide which of two candidates might be better to vote for? As Stephen Colbert might say, "We're at war, people! Pick a side!" Or as my late grandmother might have said, "Pick a side, even if it's wrong." These are the voters that tend to choose a candidate based on bullshit.

Now, scientists have done a very limited, but interesting study to pick at the brains of a few of these poor undecideds. Using an MRI, they studied the brain reactions of swing voters to certain words and images. They summarized their results in the Opinion section of the NY Times last week, "This Is Your Brain on Politics." A slide show is included.

Some of their results could foretell what the 2008 election might bring. For example, the gender gap may be closing and male swing voters might be taking a closer look at the Dems. Male subjects, "when viewing still photos of the Democrats, showed significantly higher activity in the medial orbital prefrontal cortex, an area that is activated by rewarding stimuli, than they did while looking at pictures of the Republicans." Check it out.

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