Startle Response Linked to Political Views

m1ldslide1

Platinum Member
Feb 20, 2006
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This is saying that folks with conservative views on several social issues tend to have stronger physiological responses to startle stimuli. Of course as a non-republican I'm gleeful to read that social conservatives are physically predisposed to be more frightened, but the article doesn't go so far as to fully make that accusation (I know my title is somewhat misleading).

The bolded part at the end is my favorite. Can't we all just get along?


http://www.washingtonpost.com/...R2008091802265_pf.html

Startle Response Linked to Politics
More Sensitive May Mean More Conservative, Study Finds

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 19, 2008; A09

People who startle easily in response to threatening images or loud sounds seem to have a biological predisposition to adopt conservative political positions on many hot-button issues, according to unusual new research published yesterday.

The finding suggests that people who are particularly sensitive to signals of visual or auditory threats also tend to adopt a more defensive stance on political issues, such as immigration, gun control, defense spending and patriotism. People who are less sensitive to potential threats, by contrast, seem predisposed to hold more liberal positions on those issues.

The study takes the research a step beyond psychology by suggesting that innate physiological differences among people may help shape their startle responses and their political inclinations.

The study is part of a growing research effort to uncover the often hidden factors in people's political makeup. In recent years, a variety of studies have shown, for example, that voters are subtly biased in favor of attractive political candidates. Other research has probed how subconscious attitudes among undecided voters can predict whom they will eventually support, and how the speed with which voters answer poll questions can predict the depth of their commitment to one candidate or another.

"I was quite struck watching the conventions by the different tones," said co-author John Hibbing, a political scientist at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, about the recent Republican and Democratic conventions. "The Republicans are waving placards saying, 'country first.' Democrats are not saying, 'country last,' but there is a concern that is visceral in one group but not another."

Hibbing and the other researchers stressed that physiology is only one factor in how people form their political views -- and far from the most important factor. Startle responses, moreover, cannot be used to predict the political views of any one individual -- there are many liberals who startle easily and many conservatives who do not. What the study did find is that, across groups of people, there seems to be an association between sensitivity to physical threats and sensitivity to threats affecting social groups and social order.

"We are not saying if you sneak up on someone and say 'Boo!' and see how hard they blink, that tells you what their political beliefs are," Hibbing said.

Nor is there the slightest implication that either liberals or conservatives are somehow abnormal for being more or less sensitive to threats: "We could spin a story saying it is bad to be so jumpy, but you can also spin a story saying it is bad to be naive about threats," he said. "From an evolutionary point of view, an organism needs to respond to a threat or it won't be around for very long. We are not saying one response is more normal than another."

Indeed, Hibbing and other researchers hope their study might help lower the volume of partisan invective in the presidential campaign: The research suggests that people who adopt political views you disagree with are not be stupid or irrational. Rather, they may arrive at their positions in part because they are predisposed to be more or less worried about risk.

The study, published in the journal Science, recruited 46 white partisan Republicans and Democrats in Nebraska. The volunteers were quizzed on their views on a variety of topics -- including the war in Iraq, same-sex marriage, pacifism and the importance of school prayer. All the questions were designed to test how strongly people needed to guard against various internal and external threats. None focused on economic issues.

Two months later, the researchers brought the volunteers into a laboratory and hooked them up to devices that measure a physiological factor that has long been known to be linked to threat response: moisture on the skin. When a person feels a threat, the skin releases more moisture -- and this can be picked up by sensors that measure skin conductance. The release of moisture does not involve conscious thought. It is an automatic response of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many of the body's "fight or flight" reactions.

The researchers then showed the volunteers a number of images. Among them were images of a very large spider on the face of a terrified person, a person whose face had been bloodied, and an open wound filled with maggots. Compared with when they saw three placid images -- a happy child, a bowl of fruit and a bunny -- people who held more conservative political attitudes had a stronger startle response.

In a second experiment, the researchers startled the volunteers by playing a loud noise through headphones. This time, they measured how hard people blinked -- blinking is an automatic reflex to startling sounds. Again, people who startled more strongly tended to be those who held more conservative positions on political issues.

"There is some sort of broad left-right orientation that pervades not only our politics, but politics across the world and across time," said John R. Alford, another co-author of the study who is a political scientist at Rice University. "This variation could have biological underpinnings."
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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I have told you all that Republicans are cowards for years and years and I have told you why. These scientists will study for centuries and never figure it out. They, like everybody else, don't want to know how much they hate themselves.

One is democratic or republican depending on Stockholm Syndrome. We were brutalized as children, put down and made to feel the worst in the world, told we had to conform, and those who identified with their oppressors to survive are Republicans and those who remained true to the victims become democrats.

You either get your false sense of self worth from being a team player or by identification with rebels, you either want to preserve the power of the oppressor and step into his shoes, or you want a revolution.

The fanaticism involved is a reflection of the depth of self hate and a commensurate need to deny.

Now forget what you heard.
 

tw1164

Diamond Member
Dec 8, 1999
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Originally posted by: uclaLabrat
Repubs have been campaigning on fear for 8 years. No surprise here.
I agree with your comments. How come we don't hear what color the terror level is at anymore? I can't remember the last time its been mentioned.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
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We have many indications of the truth here in common parlance, notions such as, once bitten twice shy, or the skittish cowering of a whipped dog. We have also documented the hyper alertness of folk in a war or stress zone compared to folk who grow up calmly.

What we do not have are many folk with enough psychoanalysis to have fully relived their past and understand what happened to them. It is the last thing anybody wants to do.

Another fact not understood by anybody is that we manifest our fears in reality. A simple example: A woman's love is a balm to self hate, bringing an immense surge in confidence and joy. His need for it causes him to be suspicious and jealous to the point he drives her away. He then kills her because she has taken his illusions and thrown him back into feeling worthless as he really always did feel since being made to feel that in childhood.
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
21,030
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Originally posted by: uclaLabrat
Repubs have been campaigning on fear for 8 years. No surprise here.
Both parties campaign on fear, and they've both been doing it for much more than 8 years.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,376
126
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: uclaLabrat
Repubs have been campaigning on fear for 8 years. No surprise here.
Both parties campaign on fear, and they've both been doing it for much more than 8 years.
^^ This. Though the Republicans have brought it to a new level of consistency.

But noone should forget LBJ and his 'if we don't fight the VC/commies over there, we'll be fighting in SanFran' line of BS fear-mongering.

The fact is, fear is an effective motivator, particularly on the stupid.
 

DealMonkey

Lifer
Nov 25, 2001
13,136
1
0
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: uclaLabrat
Repubs have been campaigning on fear for 8 years. No surprise here.
Both parties campaign on fear, and they've both been doing it for much more than 8 years.
Go count how many times a GOP or someone with an "R" next to their name has brought up 9/11. Now do the same for the Dems. Now compare and get back to us. TIA.

[BTW, I already know which way the data will skew.]
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
21,030
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Originally posted by: DealMonkey
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: uclaLabrat
Repubs have been campaigning on fear for 8 years. No surprise here.
Both parties campaign on fear, and they've both been doing it for much more than 8 years.
Go count how many times a GOP or someone with an "R" next to their name has brought up 9/11. Now do the same for the Dems. Now compare and get back to us. TIA.

[BTW, I already know which way the data will skew.]
The fear doesn't have to be 9/11, it can be anything. And go ask a Democrat that voted for the Patriot Act why he/she did so, and they'll tell you all about 9/11.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
69,480
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Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: uclaLabrat
Repubs have been campaigning on fear for 8 years. No surprise here.
Both parties campaign on fear, and they've both been doing it for much more than 8 years.
The article gives these examples of what the fearful focus on: immigration, gun control, defense spending and patriotism

Now please tell me which party makes these the issues we need to fear about?

It's not fear so much but the degree of irrational fear we are focused on. Of course your whole world view will crumble the day you realize that Democrats aren't Republicans so I can understand your irrational need to equate them.

But it's sad you don't take a deep look and instead go straight for the mantra.
 

Atreus21

Lifer
Aug 21, 2007
12,007
572
126
Sigh.

Okay. Conservatives are more subject to being startled. Liberals 1, Conservatives 0

Now.

An overwhelming majority of women vote democrat. Republicans are more manly.

BURNED.
 

Arkaign

Lifer
Oct 27, 2006
20,736
1,376
126
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Sigh.

Okay. Conservatives are more subject to being startled. Liberals 1, Conservatives 0

Now.

An overwhelming majority of women vote democrat. Republicans are more manly.

BURNED.
Nice :laugh: :thumbsup:

 
Feb 6, 2007
16,432
1
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Originally posted by: Atreus21
Sigh.

Okay. Conservatives are more subject to being startled. Liberals 1, Conservatives 0

Now.

An overwhelming majority of women vote democrat. Republicans are more manly.

BURNED.
Yarr, thar be nary a thing in the seven seas as manly as being easily startled.
 

m1ldslide1

Platinum Member
Feb 20, 2006
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Originally posted by: Atomic Playboy
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Sigh.

Okay. Conservatives are more subject to being startled. Liberals 1, Conservatives 0

Now.

An overwhelming majority of women vote democrat. Republicans are more manly.

BURNED.
Yarr, thar be nary a thing in the seven seas as manly as being easily startled.
Argh, hes got you there matey!
 

Robor

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
16,979
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0
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Sigh.

Okay. Conservatives are more subject to being startled. Liberals 1, Conservatives 0

Now.

An overwhelming majority of women vote democrat. Republicans act more manly but are more likely to be in-the-closet homophobes.

PWNED.
Fixed and :laugh:
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
3
0
The war on terror is over and Ossama Bin Laden has won. Like a tiny boy with a tiny stick, Al-Quida has caused the giant elephant to jump off a cliff. All behold the dead elephant, a victim of its own stupidity, running
forward while looking backward, it knew the cliff was there, but it forgot, and ideology was more important than reality.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,563
9
81
Despite the fact that guns kill less than .0001% of the population each year, many "liberals" are scared of them.

So let's try again, which party is ruled by fear?

Edit: Not to say that you're wrong about Republicans. They are heavily motivated by the fear of people wearing turbans. But why limit the discussion to one party?
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
69,480
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Originally posted by: Atreus21
Sigh.

Okay. Conservatives are more subject to being startled. Liberals 1, Conservatives 0

Now.

An overwhelming majority of women vote democrat. Republicans are more manly.

BURNED.
No, women use more of their brain power to reach conclusions. The two haves of the brain are joined by the corpus callosum which is thicker in women who therefore process data in both haves and integrate it better. Women have a more whole brained outlook on life. This is why men are all too often look like pin heads. They reach all kinds of conclusions divorced from reality.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
69,480
5,034
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Originally posted by: BoberFett
Despite the fact that guns kill less than .0001% of the population each year, many "liberals" are scared of them.

So let's try again, which party is ruled by fear?

Edit: Not to say that you're wrong about Republicans. They are heavily motivated by the fear of people wearing turbans. But why limit the discussion to one party?
Nonsense. Liberals are the product of greater development of neuron connections in the brain due to the fact that they grow up in cities where the amount of brain stimulation and impact from contact with other people of differing ideas, complexions, cultures, religious beliefs, etc foster a need for a much more complex thought process integration. And cities are where guns are used against other citizens. Your attitude toward guns is formed solely by whether you are pointing one or whether they are being pointed at you. In rural areas guns are sensible protection and even a source of protein. In the cities, people's children are being killed by drive by shooters.
 

SilthDraeth

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2003
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Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Originally posted by: Atreus21
Sigh.

Okay. Conservatives are more subject to being startled. Liberals 1, Conservatives 0

Now.

An overwhelming majority of women vote democrat. Republicans are more manly.

BURNED.
No, women use more of their brain power to reach conclusions. The two haves of the brain are joined by the corpus callosum which is thicker in women who therefore process data in both haves and integrate it better. Women have a more whole brained outlook on life. This is why men are all too often look like pin heads. They reach all kinds of conclusions divorced from reality.
Like the conclusions you reach. I have two halves of my brain, not two haves. So women may in general use both halves combined more frequently than men, but not necessarily.

One could argue that they use more percent of brain power to reach the same conclusion as a man because their overall brain power is lower. Just as a Geo Metro has to use more percentage of it's total engine power to climb a steep hill, than a Corvette.

I only say that, because you can spin anything any way you like it. But one thing I can conclude is, you don't even use "have" of your brain in making any decisions, which is why you rant and post non sensible crazy ideas all the time.
 

SilthDraeth

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2003
2,635
0
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Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Originally posted by: BoberFett
Despite the fact that guns kill less than .0001% of the population each year, many "liberals" are scared of them.

So let's try again, which party is ruled by fear?

Edit: Not to say that you're wrong about Republicans. They are heavily motivated by the fear of people wearing turbans. But why limit the discussion to one party?
Nonsense. Liberals are the product of greater development of neuron connections in the brain due to the fact that they grow up in cities where the amount of brain stimulation and impact from contact with other people of differing ideas, complexions, cultures, religious beliefs, etc foster a need for a much more complex thought process integration. And cities are where guns are used against other citizens. Your attitude toward guns is formed solely by whether you are pointing one or whether they are being pointed at you. In rural areas guns are sensible protection and even a source of protein. In the cities, people's children are being killed by drive by shooters.
Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. You may grow up in larger cities with more people, and are there for more susceptible to "mob/hive mentality" way of thinking, than people that live in wide open spaces, and are actually responsible for taking care of themselves and their families.

Hive mentality only works if emotions are cut out of the equation, and that simply isn't possible with humans.

See, we can all be crazy just like Moonbeam if we try.
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
21,030
2
61
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Originally posted by: bamacre
Originally posted by: uclaLabrat
Repubs have been campaigning on fear for 8 years. No surprise here.
Both parties campaign on fear, and they've both been doing it for much more than 8 years.
The article gives these examples of what the fearful focus on: immigration, gun control, defense spending and patriotism

Now please tell me which party makes these the issues we need to fear about?

It's not fear so much but the degree of irrational fear we are focused on. Of course your whole world view will crumble the day you realize that Democrats aren't Republicans so I can understand your irrational need to equate them.

But it's sad you don't take a deep look and instead go straight for the mantra.
The two parties agree on much more than they disagree. They don't argue about the issues they agree with, so it isn't obvious to those like yourself.

If you could escape your fear of Republicans and take a deep look at your own party, you could see it is just as evil and just as stupid. But, "limit your scope, limit your findings" seems to be the advice you only think you've taken.
 

BoberFett

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
37,563
9
81
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Originally posted by: BoberFett
Despite the fact that guns kill less than .0001% of the population each year, many "liberals" are scared of them.

So let's try again, which party is ruled by fear?

Edit: Not to say that you're wrong about Republicans. They are heavily motivated by the fear of people wearing turbans. But why limit the discussion to one party?
Nonsense. Liberals are the product of greater development of neuron connections in the brain due to the fact that they grow up in cities where the amount of brain stimulation and impact from contact with other people of differing ideas, complexions, cultures, religious beliefs, etc foster a need for a much more complex thought process integration. And cities are where guns are used against other citizens. Your attitude toward guns is formed solely by whether you are pointing one or whether they are being pointed at you. In rural areas guns are sensible protection and even a source of protein. In the cities, people's children are being killed by drive by shooters.
If that were true, people living in ghettos would be the smartest people in the world. Multiculturalism abounds!
 

bamacre

Lifer
Jul 1, 2004
21,030
2
61
Originally posted by: BoberFett
Originally posted by: Moonbeam
Originally posted by: BoberFett
Despite the fact that guns kill less than .0001% of the population each year, many "liberals" are scared of them.

So let's try again, which party is ruled by fear?

Edit: Not to say that you're wrong about Republicans. They are heavily motivated by the fear of people wearing turbans. But why limit the discussion to one party?
Nonsense. Liberals are the product of greater development of neuron connections in the brain due to the fact that they grow up in cities where the amount of brain stimulation and impact from contact with other people of differing ideas, complexions, cultures, religious beliefs, etc foster a need for a much more complex thought process integration. And cities are where guns are used against other citizens. Your attitude toward guns is formed solely by whether you are pointing one or whether they are being pointed at you. In rural areas guns are sensible protection and even a source of protein. In the cities, people's children are being killed by drive by shooters.
If that were true, people living in ghettos would be the smartest people in the world. Multiculturalism abounds!
Not mention, if he wants to help prevent those "drive by shooters," he'd support ending this ridiculous drug war which only empowers the criminals he is complaining about. Of course, he's not going to get that with the Democrats, who seem to be focused on the guns rather than the true roots of the problems.
 

Xavier434

Lifer
Oct 14, 2002
10,377
1
0
Originally posted by: bamacre
Not mention, if he wants to help prevent those "drive by shooters," he'd support ending this ridiculous drug war which only empowers the criminals he is complaining about. Of course, he's not going to get that with the Democrats, who seem to be focused on the guns rather than the true roots of the problems.
I'm not going to argue that the war on drugs doesn't need to be redefined and refocused because it most certainly does, but to simply open the gates and let everyone freely use whatever drugs they want legally is just not the answer. All that will do is replace one set of problems with a different set of problems. That is not what I consider a real solution. Beyond that, all that is left is a debate about which set of problems is worse and that is purely subjective.
 

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