MSNBC: Political bias affects brain activity, study finds

From MSNBC

Suck it, McCullough! :)

Whatever. I’ve been rather disbelieving of brain studies since that one showing people engage in no rational decision making at all. Supposedly they decided based on what emotionally feels good, and then a second later the logic center kicks in to rationalize the decision.

I bet it feels real good to disbelieve ANOTHER brain study then, doesn’t it? I suspect it really strengthens your belief that your initial impression was correct.

(colon, right parentheses, good-natured smiley-face)

Can we just put the “mainstream media” out of it’s misery? It’s tired, lame, and watching it try to be “relevant” just makes it obvious how much pain it’s in. It’s the humane thing to do.

What? “Relevant”?

Confirmation bias in effect yo!

Holy shit. What a shocker. Next scientists are going to discover that people get all worked up when talking about religion.

Religion. Don’t get me started on religion!!!

Religion! What moronity!

So the subjects had to sit through Bush & Kerry … I sure hope they got paid well … once was more than enough for me ;)

The nice thing about this study is that it explains people like Gideongamer, he makes a lot more sense you realise he is pleasuring himself all over the forums.

Eeew dude. XP

Augh! No, seriously - how is after the fact rationalization compatible with “people can do advanced math”? Do they just emotionally pick a pleasurable hypothesis about the Reimann-Zeta function and then attempt to justify it?

Could be that emotions are a calculation done more quickly, with a similar result. Like a dual chip RISC processing system, or like a drowning shetland pony.

Yes, I think so. People initially choose based on gut feeling or a sense of elegance or because they want to believe the opposite of someone they don’t like. The thing is that in math the justification part is more formal and systematic and harder to twist to whatever your prior preferences may be.

The original point is odd though. You would think that ignoring whatever doesn’t fit your worldview would put you at a disadvantage in evolution. There must be some real benefits to be gained from the selective hearing characteristic.

Mike: maybe being accepted into the “pack” makes up for the disadvantages of ignoring information? Who knows.

The tendency of humans to filter out inconsistent information once they have decided on a belief is well-established in psychology, although we didn’t have brain scans to verify it until now.

Our current hypothesis is that through much of human history, it was adaptive to feel certain and confident once you’ve made a decision. Decisions were likely more short-term, and hesitation or uncertainty once a course of action was decided on might be life-threatening. Isn’t there a famous Marine combat saying “Advance or retreat, never stand still”? In risky situations (characteristic of much of early human life), feeling confident with your choice, and dismissing other choices as bad, is adaptive overall, even though some people die due to poor choices.

Now, thanks to longer lives and civilization, instead of making short-term choices like “Which way do we move the tribe now that the caribou have migrated?” or “Which path through the woods is most likely going to confuse the saber-tooth that is behind me?”, we are asked to decide on 5-year feasibility studies, or the leader best able to make choices for a nation in the next 4 years. It would be good to gather information and be open to change now, because we’ve got time to make better decisions. Our brains just haven’t caught up yet.

Or maybe the Flying Spaghetti Monster failed to correct his design document for us, and kept the one that went INPUT -> EMOTIONAL DECISION -> RATIONAL THOUGHT.

My bar talk explanation is more along the lines of maybe there’s probably a quick bayesian filter based on past experience and ‘instinctual theoretical knowledge’ in the emotional area that they’re mis-interpreting as “hurr this solution to the problem gives me a woody.”

Saying someone chooses a solution possibily because it’s elegant just begs the question of why they think it’s elegant and what defines elegant. I’d say those map closely to “this tends to work well in general as general solution” and “has worked before” and “if there’s a lot of dangly annoying bits it’s a pain in the ass to get it working for more than 5 minutes.”

nVidia rules, ATI drools.

Science is crap.