Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Politics Government Science

Brain Scans May Unlock Candidates' Appeal 105

Posted by michael
from the clockwork-orange dept.
Anonymous Voter writes "Applying some of the same brain-scan technology used to understand Alzheimer's and autism, scientists are trying to learn what makes a Republican's mind different from a Democrat's."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Brain Scans May Unlock Candidates' Appeal

Comments Filter:
  • Easy (Score:1, Funny)

    by deanj (519759)
    How's that go

    The Democrat is all heart and no brain, the Republican is all brain and no heart?

    Kidding...kidding.... The Republican does have a heart.
    • Re:Easy (Score:3, Funny)

      by dtfinch (661405) *
      That doesn't explain why we have a Republican president who is by most standards considered mentally challenged.
      • Re:Easy (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tanktalus (794810)

        If Bush is mentally challenged, what does that say about Kerry? [vdare.com]

        (I don't believe Bush is mentally challenged, I don't believe Kerry is mentally challenged, and I sure as heck don't believe that IQ is anything but attaching a meaningless number to people.)

      • Re:Easy (Score:2, Funny)

        by BandwidthHog (257320)
        I disagree. Dick Cheney is a very intelligent man, and while I may not agree with much that he says, a very capable public speaker. Take your liberal smears somewhere else, you damn dirty pinko!

        • "Of the known unknowns a decision can be made. For the unknown knowns, we have to be flexible."

          This actually makes sense from a real-world (not computer) engineering point of view, but the overuse of the word makes it look/sound clownish.

          Maybe I'm right but someone will probably correct me.
          • I thought the knowing of the unknown knowns was a Rumsfeld thing? (can't be bothered to Google for it on a lazy Friday afternoon)

            • Rumsfeld might have used it to his public detriment by listening to engineers.

              If you've ever let an engineer talk at length, you probably know how that can go.

              For example: if I know what I know based on what you have told me (which could be a preliminary assessment on your part where you could actually be dealing with unknowns yourself), then I have a "known", assuming that you are a reliable source of information.

              In my experience, design of major, multi-million dollar facilities operate this way sinc
              • Rumsfeld gets a lot of shit because he's a smart guy who just happens to be an evil fucking bastard.

                The "known knowns" crap has nothing to do with engineering. It came from him being unwilling to act like a total fucking moron, like so many other politicians feel the need to do.

                • The "known knowns" crap has nothing to do with engineering. It came from him being unwilling to act like a total fucking moron, like so many other politicians feel the need to do.

                  There must be a typo in there somewhere.
      • Re:Easy (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by ConceptJunkie (24823)
        Go back under your bridge, troll. When lacking real criticism, unintelligent people resort to ad hominem attacks.

        In this case, "It takes one to know one." might actually be appropriate.

        • Sorry for not posting my quick response to the first post stating "democrats have no brains" in essay format.
          • Well, there's plenty of good ways to respond to stupid comments without stooping to their level. Besides, I took the first post as a joke, not a slam. Oh, well.

      • "That doesn't explain why we have a Republican president who is by most standards considered mentally challenged."

        Most standards? Please. Your 'most standards' is really one standard about how he talks. "Ha! he said internets! Giggle giggle snort what a retard! I'm going to go on Slashdot and complain about it!"
        • Your 'most standards' is really one standard about how he talks.

          Not really. He talks a lot better than I do.
      • I am offended that anyone would call George W. mentally challenged! He's "special".
    • Democrat: What actions can government take, that could help most everyone, and minimize overt harm to anyone?

      Republican: What actions can government take that directly benefit me, and otherwise justify the expense of others?

      Libertarian: What actions can government take that aren't at my expense?

      • How about an adjustment:

        Democrat: What actions can the government take to force you to help everyone?

        • Works- from a Libertarian point of view. Also from a Democrat point of view- "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"- John F. Kennedy.
          • Also from a Democrat point of view- "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"- John F. Kennedy

            Yeah. In other words, "Ask not what I can do for you, but what you can do for me".
        • And the problem is?
          • The problem *was* "Hey, I'm a democrat, we want everybody to have it good, and republicans and libertarians suck". I thought my amendment pointed out mutual suckiness in all three party lines.

            Understandably, if you are a Democrat, you will likely see nothing wrong with either the original statement or my amendment, but the original rosy description and my less flattering one both point out what I (personally) consider to be a weak point in fundamental Democrat ideology that is similar to those noted on Re

      • You are so full of crap.

      • Whats really weird is if you plot this against a time scale. (And correct your obvious political bias)
        60's
        Democrat: What actions can government take, to keep the individual down and promote groupthink.

        Republican: What actions can government take to further the government?

        Hippies: What actions can government take that will make us all live in a happy commune that I believe the soviets are living in?

        90s
        Democrat: What actions can government take, to keep the minorities dependant upon us?

        Republican: What
    • Re:Easy (Score:2, Funny)

      by unixbum (720776)
      "Kidding...kidding.... The Republican does have a heart." Yup, just look at Cheney.
    • This doesn't explain why Bush voters understand the issues less [pipa.org]...
    • Re:Easy (Score:2, Informative)

      by cold fjord (826450)
      Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains. -Sir Winston Churchill.
      • I'm damn near 30 years old (I'm 29). But if anything I've become MORE liberal in the past 6 or 7 years than the other way around. Especially after my daughter was born (March 21 2003, right after the beginning of our current war).

        I wouldn't want her to grow up in this increasingly neo-con nightmare that the U.S. is becoming.
        • I'm damn near 30 years old (I'm 29). But if anything I've become MORE liberal in the past 6 or 7 years than the other way around.

          That's odd. It was the same with Churchill.

      • Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains. -Sir Winston Churchill.

        Churchill was referring to generations that existed at his time. I'm guessing that this is where the "don't trust anyone over 30" slogan came from (was it Timothy Leary?)

        The quote does seem to be valid though.
      • IT only takes 30 years to turn a liberal into a conservative, without changing a single idea.
      • by mabu (178417)
        Apples and oranges.

        Back then the terms "conservative" and "liberal" had completely different meanings. In fact, in England there's a huge difference in those terms when compared with the American definitions. And on top of that, nobody really seems to know what a liberal is except those who seem to be proud they're not a liberal. The whole notion is bullshit [bsalert.com].
    • In 2000, Zogby posed a question for Americans:

      You live in the land of Oz. Who do you vote for: the tin man (all brain and no heart) or the scarecrow (all heart and no brain). The tin man was supposed to represent Gore, and the scarecrow, Bush. Apparently it was dead even. This year, the tin man is winning.

      • I'm pretty sure the straw man (no brain and no heart) is going to win this year.
        • We'll find out November 2. We hope. My own guess is Bush 275, Kerry 265, with each getting 49% of the popular vote.

          There are many capable, intelligent people who go into politics because they feel they can contribute to society that way. Unfortunately, they become incumbents, and start focusing on the process of goverment more than the goals.

          Neither Bush nor Kerry are dumb people. Both made regrettable mistakes in the 1970s that they must live with.
    • Hmm. I asked my friend about the difference. (I have no knowledge of these things; I listen to Rush Limbaugh (blah) in the morning and John and Ken [johnandkenshow.com] in the afternoon.)

      He said one's stupid, the other's evil. I keep forgetting which was which.

      I asked him about a particular person... I think it was Limbaugh. He said "he's bipartisan -- so he's stupid and evil".
  • by pipingguy (566974) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:01PM (#10665264) Homepage

    Perhaps data has not been properly entered. Please try again.
  • by cephyn (461066) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:02PM (#10665276) Homepage
    People from [your party] have a brain, and those of [other party] don't!
  • Many people I know vote based on what those around them think. One friend in particular agrees with me on every individual issue, but is voting for Bush because it goes against her southern upbringing to vote for a liberal. So which are we discussing here, whether people are voting red or blue, or whether their world view is left or right?
  • Not Funny? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bluethundr (562578) * on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:06PM (#10665350) Homepage Journal
    This story may be "hard news" and "serious science" but why the hell this isn't also under the category of "It's Funny, Laugh!" is beyond me! I know I did!
  • by devphil (51341) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:08PM (#10665383) Homepage


    Didn't I just read this somewhere...

    • Coca-Cola Rewires Your Brain; Pepsi Cannot
      22:21 Tuesday 19 October 2004
      Rejected
    Oh, yeah, I forgot. Slashdot editors don't like science unless it's outer space.

    Where's that article... okay, here it is [independent.co.uk], althought I suspect it will have gone into subscription-only archive by now. Probably there's a mirror somewhere.

    One of the points was that, using brain scans, we can accurately predict which of the colas you'll prefer. Also, there's no scientific basis for the "blindfolded taste test": it'll come out 50/50... which makes me wonder what a truly "blindfolded" political survey would show.

  • This again? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    1) This isn't a dupe exactly, but it's at least the fifth or sixth virtually identical story like this we've had.

    2) It's not an uninteresting question, but as the typically inflammatory submission here demonstrates, both the media and the jackasses here are unable to look at it in an un-stupid way.

  • interesting (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's interesting that that the democrats' Amygdala lights up more than the republicans' for Sept. 11 surprises me. I thought the Republican platform was fear of terrorists and "remember 9/11", not the dems'. For the non-neurologists like me, read the Wiki Article [wikipedia.org]
    • I believe it was extrapolated on a similar study (or possibly the same one; different website anyway) that this is because of two possible reasons:
      A) in dems this invokes fear whereas republicans feel anger; or
      B) republicans are not surprised by the imagery (whether it's because of repeated exposure or a different expectations is not known).
    • I fear that 9/11 is used to justify some of the scariest things my government has ever done. I associate 9/11 with restrictions on travel, with rape rooms at Abu Ghraib, with torture, and with people being disappeared in the middle of the night.

      Oh, and I also associate it with a small rise in the number of domestic murders that year. I'm not trying to be insensitive -- having a friend or loved one murdered is horrible, regardless of the day it happens on.
  • Stats and Politics (Score:4, Interesting)

    by secondsun (195377) <secondsun@gmail.com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:32PM (#10665718) Journal
    We have a one party system if anyone has noticed. The current political atmosphere, the bitterness in the media between the sides is a clever ploy to move the population as a whole. Now we have a system where you can do one thing and accuratly predict the behavior of 90% of the people. For example, the GoP says something is bad the DNC will say it is good. This follows down to the dittoheads.

    Further more, why do we have the electorate almost evenly split? It could be that both candidates and policies are so aligned that the population is simply guessing, which averages out to 50/50 with suble varioations depending on date, mood, the location of UFO's overhead etc.

    This is all conspiracy theory and ass blown conclusions (aka my opinion) so take it for what you will.
    • Further more, why do we have the electorate almost evenly split? It could be that both candidates and policies are so aligned that the population is simply guessing, which averages out to 50/50 with suble varioations depending on date, mood, the location of UFO's overhead etc.

      I think more of it has to do with the momentum of "loyalty", which was abused post-9/11 when national loyalty was intentionally conflated with political/party loyalty. But otherwise your post is pretty well right.
  • Scanning a libertarians brain proved unsuccessful due to uncontrollable twitching when forced to look at either canidate for a period of time. Niether republicans nor democrats were able to understand this irrational behavior.

    Seriously, all these surveyes, tests...and no third party info. Frankly, Im not horribly surprised by the results...Im quite aware of people crazy connections to "their" canidate.

    • Libertarians (couldn't afford) or wouldn't be having brain scans anyway. In a Libertarian world, such technology wouldn't exist because it would have likely only come about through government-subsidized research, none of which would exist under the naive tiny-government scenario propsed by Libertarians.
  • For years, Soviet doctors and psychiatrists attempted to medicalize dissent, institutionalizing "patients" and subjecting them to a variety of experimental drugs and other treatments designed to "cure" them of anti-communist thought. When that didn't work, they just threw them in the gulag.

    I'm sure those old Soviet doctors are glad to see their work being carried on here in the US.
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:10PM (#10666891)
    It is also possible that the feelings people had for their chosen candidate (a sense of connection by Kerry supporters, or a feeling of friendship by Bush supporters) have more to do with the personalities of each candidate as perceived by their supporters. That is, Bush is a more friendly type, so Bush supporters perceive him as being a friend of sorts; Kerry is the "way out" from the current admin for his supporters, so they perceive him with a strong sense of connection.

    Another possible alternative link involves the activity in the amygdala when shown a Bush ad including scenes from the September 11 attacks. Rather than being an innate difference between people of political leanings, this could be the result of the two wings of the media either harping on or justifying the use of September 11 imagery in Bush ads. Bush supporters find the imagery of the attack aftermath as connected to Bush to be reassuring, because they feel he is doing the right thing with regards to terrorism; while Kerry supporters find the same imagery to be alarming because the linked imagery of the attacks with Bush provides no reassurance (because they disagree with how Bush has handled terrorism).

  • Tell that to Zaphod Beeblebrox. GWB probably got tips from him when he preformed his own brain surgery.
  • by benntop (449447)
    As an fMRI researcher this article is frustrating. Simply knowing what areas of the brain are being utilized for a task says nothing about the political views of a person. Nor does it reveal how to recruit voters for your cause. It is a single person's reaction to seeing someone that they either affiliate with or don't - the same as most other social interactions.

    Couple this with the fact that you cannot discern much from single subject data in fMRI. With some robust paradigms you can get good signal,
  • by jgardn (539054) <jgardn@alumni.washington.edu> on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:16PM (#10668140) Homepage Journal
    Politics is all about emotion. I know some republicans and libertarians will disagree with this, but they do so because they get an emotional response to their ideas that are based on logic. Ultimately, they feel more comfortable with the policies of their candidates. It just sits right.

    I know I feel a strong aversion to big government. I feel inspired by the idea of lower taxes and reduced government. I have an emotional connection to these issues that obviously a lot of others don't.

    What makes a good politician is he understands what excites people and how to get them out there to do something for the candidate for free. It's called leadership, charisma.

    Real leadership is positive. You saw it with FDR, John Kennedy, and Reagan. They gave a vision, then spread that vision to the masses, then coordinated the effort to achieve that vision.

    Most politicians are not good at what they do. (I'll leave a judgment of their character or their ability as a governor or legislator as a seperate issue.) The only way they can inspire is by fear and hatred.

    Luckily, fear and hatred are emotions that are easily conquered by vision and inspiration. For instance, Dr. King's speech "I have a dream" inspired probably the majority of the people to lower their fear and hatred of racial integration.

    I think that politics will always be a human art. There will only be a handful of really good politicians out there. They will be the ones to add that touch to the campaign and speeches that all the science and understanding in the world can't bring. There is a soul to good politics that can't be described with machines and numbers.
  • And when viewing the opposition, all had increased blood flow in the region where humans consciously assert control over emotions suggesting the volunteers were actively attempting to dislike the opposition.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to say that the volunteers were actively trying not to, say, angrily yell "BUSH LIED MILLIONS DIED" at the screen? Using this line of logic, you might as well say that Democrats had more amygdala activity then Republicans in response to the 9/11 ad because they were activel
  • at first I thought they had bush and kerry brainscanned
  • The article mentioned only showing politically based images to the test subjects. People who have claimed a political party are very likely to have made up their minds about a number of different issues. Is it unusual that a Democrat who feels Bush is using 9/11 as an excuse for the Iraqi war would be more upset that a Republican who feels that 9/11 is being avenged by the Iraqi war?

    The results of the study would be more interesting if the subjects were shown generic imaegs. Thunderstorms, babies, sunset
  • Leave it to research scientists to have no clue that people actually gain wisdom as they experience the "outside" world. I can only guess that they're still stuck in the "college liberal" mindset because they have never left their campus labs. Now, they need to do "brain scans" to solve the problem of their own inadequacies.

Business is a good game -- lots of competition and minimum of rules. You keep score with money. -- Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari

Working...