Science of Politics

As we gear up toward the Presidential election we are all bombarded with political advertisements, political news reports, and a myriad of political content on social media. Each side of the political spectrum chastising the other for being uninformed, misled, or simply ignorant of the issues.

It turns out that what we view as a conscious cognitive decision to vote for one candidate or the other may actually simply be a result of our physiological makeup according to research. Dr. Michael Dodd of the University of Nebraska tested how forty six left leaning and right leaning persons reacted to a series of images. Some of the images were associated with negative or bad feelings while the others were associated with what we would call positive or happy feelings. Dr. Dodd recorded how the visual stimulus affected the individuals and found that one group experienced higher stimulus reaction from the negative images while the other group experienced higher stimulus from the positive images.

Dr. Dodd conducted another test to which images cause faster reaction time from both political groups. The study showed that the negative image caught the attention of both groups faster however the time they looked at each image differed.

The researchers are not willing to jump to the conclusion that political beliefs are hard wired but they do admit that once your distinct physiological make-up is in place it is very hard to dislodge. Perhaps all the debates, facebook posts, and political ads are just futile attempts to alter biology.


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