Wednesday, 25 January, 2006

Political desicions are not made rationally

Slashdot today aggregated this story about how people manage to ignore facts while making political decisions.  In the study, researchers monitored the brains of staunch party supportors as they evaluated information that threatened their perferred candidate.  They announced the results yesterday.  I'm not terribly surprised by the results, as they tend to support my own conclusions.  The most telling comment from one of the researchers was this:

We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning.  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.

As the article states, "The study points to a total lack of reason in political decision-making."

With people on both sides of the political aisle reaching totally biased opinions by ignoring information that can not rationally be discounted, is it any wonder that our political discourse is in such sad shape?

I'm afraid to read the comments about this article on Slashdot.