Stuff I Found

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Science shows Republicans cause fear, disgust

Not really, obviously. Well, maybe they cause such things to you, but that's nothing an fMRI can prove with sloppy science... according to this article, some scientists concluded:

“The two areas in the brain associated with anxiety and disgust—the amygdala and the insula—were especially active when men viewed ‘Republican.’ But all three labels also elicited some activity in the brain area associated with reward, the ventral striatum, as well as other regions related to desire and feeling connected.” So the word “Republican” elicits anxiety and disgust, except for when it triggers feelings of desire and connectedness. The rest of the conclusions are similarly obfuscating.

Uh... not so fast! As another scientist says:

“As cognitive neuroscientists who use the same brain imaging technology, we know that it is not possible to definitively determine whether a person is anxious or feeling connected simply by looking at activity in a particular brain region ... a one-to-one mapping between a brain region and a mental state is not possible.”


there is the problem of reversing the causal inference, “where people see some activity in a brain area and then conclude that this part of the brain is where X happens. We can show that if I put you into a state of fear, your amygdala lights up, but that doesn’t mean that every time your amygdala lights up you are experiencing fear. Every brain area lights up under lots of different states.

Nice try, though! Yeah, surely those Republican-disgusted scientists had no political agenda...


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