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New hope for the politically dependent

By Owen Paine on Monday January 30, 2006 03:59 PM

Science to the rescue. Thus the January 30 Washington Post:
Emory University psychologist Drew Westen put self-identified Democratic and Republican partisans in brain scanners and asked them to evaluate negative information about various candidates. Both groups were quick to spot inconsistency and hypocrisy -- but only in candidates they opposed .

"When presented with negative information about the candidates they liked, partisans of all stripes found ways to discount it, Westen said.

Now comes the money quote:
When the unpalatable information was rejected, furthermore, the brain scans showed that volunteers gave themselves feel-good pats -- the scans showed that "reward centers" in volunteers' brains were activated.
Hmmmm. Is it conditioning? I say nope -- it's hard wiring.
The psychologist observed that the way these subjects dealt with unwelcome information had curious parallels with drug addiction, as addicts also reward themselves for wrong-headed behavior.
This could explain a lot. The poor soul who just can't stay away from one or the other of Orthrus' heads -- he's not so different from the starveling junkie sniffling and shivering on a windswept street corner, impatient to put his troubled heart temporarily beyond the reach of the world's pain. He's not doing himself any good -- on the contrary -- but the warm feeling he gets, for those few minutes, is the only warmth he's got.

Comments (3)

J. Alva Scruggs:

Conditioning can cause a response to become hardwired in. Martin Seligman tortured dogs over a period of four years to study "learned helplessness". After he was done with them, they were barely capable of moving. Now, of course, he's peddling learned optimism and Authentic Happiness™. These voters ought to be checked to see if they've been seligmanized. It sounds like they got both of his therapies.


t'is it
a manifestation
original wiring ???

or something more complex and contradictory

a coommon
"historic" struggles
a pain/pleasure driven network
sunk in
a wildly impoverished ideological environment ???
is the two party system
a recipe for
such a pandemic
self protective
irrational ultimately soul destroyng

hard to tell
where structure meets
with just a one time
look see
into a pack of these monarchless
self organizing networks

J. Alva Scruggs:

Nicely done.

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