Friday, September 28, 2007

Brainwave voting?

Tired of endless political campaigns? The long, big talks, the attacks and blows candidates deliver at each other, the surface-ish debates, the marketing, the brainwashing... In short, the whole image competition that drives deep thinking and real issues down the farthest layer in the ground?

Wouldn't it be nice to just say "Hey, THAT's how I want my country to be, now please make it so" in a matter of seconds, and then be done with it? Yeah ok, I may be dreaming a bit to colorfully here...

Still, we may not be that far from such kind of possibility. Actually, a study, conducted by David Amodio (psychologist from New York University), demonstrated that brains of people with a "progressive" tendency show themselves to be more flexible in their thinking, whereas self-pretended "conservatives" are more prone to react quickly, spending a bit less time on thought.

While this conclusion is a wee bit simplistic, some critics have developped the matter more thoroughfully, comparing other studies with Amodio's and, amongst other things, linking Liberals' thinking with neurotics, and Conservatives' with antisocials. Wheew. Aren't we getting a bit worked up here?

In response to the many critics that reacted upon his study, Amodio has provided answers of his own to many of the interrogations that he were faced with. In short, he explains that his study has been quite "misconstrued and sensationalized in the media, as well as among science bloggers", so that people may believe that their conclusion is as simple and direct as "liberals are this and conservatives are that". In fact, they merely reported a correlation, but never did they pretend to interpret its implications or denied that there most certainly are third factors to political views. In other word, don't give this study more credit and importance than it dares give itself.

I'm quite reassured by those answers, because that would actually have been my point. Great, this study contributes in understanding the many inner workings of political views, but in no fashion can it be complete, and neither can a brain scan, restricted to the studied subject, replace actual decision-making by voters.

Hell, I claim myself more "progressive", yet I did vote for the Conservative Party in the last Canadian Federal elections. My point being, oftentimes our voting decisions may go somewhat against our inner beliefs, but for the sake of what position the country or state is currently in; what needs to be done, etc.

In conclusion, we're far from replacing good ol' voting. But still, we may be one step closer to comprehending the many differences among people's political views and beliefs. Good thing, isn't it?

(Images are from Cyberpresse and The Neurocritic blogger)

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