Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows.
And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view.
Researchers asked staunch party members from both sides to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored while they pondered.
The results were announced today.
"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," said Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory University. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts."
I'm pretty sure this happens in general, rather than just in the political arena. Religion, race, socioeconomic status - even topics as innocuous as musical preference. Discussion involving strongly held opinions routinely results in parties simply not listening to each other.
I do honestly enjoy considering Ray and his more notable supporters as being intellectually defficient - and they're usually eager to provide evidence to this effect. Yet, the above study suggests something different...
So here's the question: are fundamentalists doing this? Are they communicating via emotion? Is the phenomenon in the above study the result of a willful disabling of the intellect, or is it involuntary?