September 10, 2007

"There are two cognitive styles -- a liberal style and a conservative style."

Some scientists did a study that, they say, reveals there's a "right wing brain" and a "left wing brain":
Participants were college students whose politics ranged from "very liberal" to "very conservative." They were instructed to tap a keyboard when an M appeared on a computer monitor and to refrain from tapping when they saw a W.

M appeared four times more frequently than W, conditioning participants to press a key in knee-jerk fashion whenever they saw a letter.

Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph that recorded activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, the part of the brain that detects conflicts between a habitual tendency (pressing a key) and a more appropriate response (not pressing the key). Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes than conservatives when they saw a W, researchers said. Liberals and conservatives were equally accurate in recognizing M....

Lead author David Amodio, an assistant professor of psychology at New York University, cautioned that the study looked at a narrow range of human behavior and that it would be a mistake to conclude that one political orientation was better. The tendency of conservatives to block distracting information could be a good thing depending on the situation, he said.
Do you find yourself blocking the distracting information that is this study? You may be a conservative.

IN THE COMMENTS: I love this response from Pogo:
"conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. "

Read: Liberals are good people. Conservatives are stupid, unable to tell one letter from another.

Or: Liberals have no standards, and can be made to believe anything at all, no matter how ridiciulous.

... Conservatives quickly discover how to avoid time-wasting. Recognizing the preponderance of Ms over Ws, vote M. Spending valuable thought on being precise aboout M vs W is a waste of your time. The more crucuial question is: when the incentive to be right is correct, who is more accurate? For example, why spend effort on trivial matter whose consequences of being wrong are zero?

I read the study. In contrast to their interpretation, it tells me that liberals easily do what they're told. Conservatives resist.
Another issue I see now is: Which students volunteer to do psychological tests? It may be that liberal students want to help further science and conservative students are showing up for the cash. The conservative finds the most efficient way to get what he wants, which is the cash. Why bother getting the answers right? Also, there is the matter of which students self-identify as "conservative" -- especially among the students who chose to attend New York University and UCLA, where the study was done. These may be very usual people. Meanwhile, most students call themselves "liberal" at these places -- I assume. You may not be comparing the brains of conservatives and liberals, but of oddball outsiders and average kids.

ADDED: A neuroscientist trashes the study:
... 91% of the variance in accuracy was attributable to factors other than political orientation. Moreover, they do not present a figure of this data as they did for their other results. When a correlation is this small (.30), it can be heavily influenced by the performance of a very small number of subjects who may be outliers.

A related point on the possibility of a small number of subjects influencing the data. They don't report the numbers of subjects who were liberal versus conservatives but perusal of one of their figures indicates that they had a grand total of 7 subjects who were on the conservative side of '0'. This is totally inadequate for any behavioral study. They also don't report the gender breakdown of the subjects by political orientation. There is strong bias to females in the study (63%) but, as you know, there is a very strong likelihood that the males were over-represented among the conservative participants (this is not reported). This may sound like a trivial factor but it is not. I can tell you from my own experiences in testing university students in dozens of studies on cognitive abilities that the typical university male could not give a crap about how they perform in psychology lab experiments. This is a critical factor if there is a tendency for the conservatives in their study to also be males.

107 comments:

rhhardin said...

Liberals don't believe in side-effects. Whatever you want done, you achieve by direct action.

Conservatives believe that direct action produces, chiefly, perverse side-effects.

Since government has been around a long time, the problems that can be actually solved by direct action have already been solved. So, for the remaining problems, conservatives are necessarily mostly right.

Traditional example of perverse side-effects : if you stand on your toes, you can see better ; if everybody stands on their toes, everybody can see better. The fallacy of composition. Liberals don't believe in it.

Hence the maxim that if you're not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart; and if you're not a conservative at thirty, you have no brain.

Caveman liberals were more successful. The problems were all new, and many could be solved directly. And they didn't live long enough to become conservatives.

What a college-aged conservative would be, is a little scary, though.

MadisonMan said...

Since government has been around a long time, the problems that can be actually solved by direct action have already been solved.

Yes, because we all know there are no new problems.

Simon said...

Didn't you post something similar to this that was in the NYT a few months ago? I'm trying to remember enough about it to google for a link.

Pogo said...

1. Where does that place liberals who become conservative? Or vice versa?

2. "conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments whereas liberals are more open to new experiences. "

Read: Liberals are good people. Conservatives are stupid, unable to tell one letter from another.

Or: Liberals have no standards, and can be made to believe anything at all, no matter how ridiciulous.


3. Conservatives quickly discover how to avoid time-wasting. Recognizing the preponderance of Ms over Ws, vote M. Spending valuable thought on being precise aboout M vs W is a waste of your time. The more crucuial question is: when the incentive to be right is correct, who is more accurate? For example, why spend effort on trivial matter whose consequences of being wrong are zero?

I read the study. In contrast to their interpretation, it tells me that liberals easily do what they're told. Conservatives resist.

Sloanasaurus said...

Many liberals probably are smarter. You need to be to 1) convince yourself that you don't need facts to implement something; and 2) to be able to con everyone else that what you propose will make their life better.

You don't need to be a genius to understand freedom. However, you need to be pretty smart to be able to rationalize it away (at least for others).

save_the_rustbelt said...

Any psych research done solely with college students is crap per se.

Why intelligent people pay attention is beyond me.

Paddy O. said...

In some circles I'm a part of the Myers-Briggs typologies are really popular.

I wonder if this study basically aligns with the P and the J aspects o that. A P is someone who is always gathering more information, taking it in, absorbing, wanting to know more. A J is someone who more quickly gets what is needed.

The flip side to this is that the J is decisive. Does something.

Could we say that liberals absorb and in a way that actually stifles action because they always see so many sides they can't respond? A conservative might miss the whole picture but they know enough for their little world and they act in response? The danger for the liberal is never acting but just absorbing. The danger for the conservative is possibly acting before all the information comes in and maybe being too quick to action.

Simply being open is a very fine position to be, for those times in life in which decisions can be delayed.

Maybe also this is why being religious, or being married, or having a family are key aspects suggesting a conservative leaning. In life sometimes decisions are needing to be made before all the information is in.

Ideally, the two sides would work together. Ideally, we would see the contribution of different cognitive habits rather than just saying "you're stupid and dumb and possibly evil."

rhhardin said...

Each participant was wired to an electroencephalograph

Old joke : they have brain scanners for use in airport screenings that can tell what you're thinking, but they don't work on women.

Simon said...

Pogo - I share your suspicions of work like this, but with that said, Lakoff's Moral Politics, for example, very strongly suggests major differences in cognition. It leaves open the question of whether those differences are physiological or simply conditioned and ingrained, but that at least suggests that studies like this could have some merit, I would think.

Ron Hardin's point above, that "Conservatives believe that direct action produces, chiefly, perverse side-effects," is exactly the point I've made before, that "even when the traditional solution is less than ideal, it at least has the virtue of being tried and tested, and its unintended consequences have already become apparent. To alter any part of a densely interlinked system is to set off reverberations that cannot be predicted with effects that may be undesirable, will likely become irrevocable, and may ultimately be deleterious - hence the familiar 'law of unintended consequences.'"

Doyle said...

Liberals had more brain activity and made fewer mistakes

Shocker.

Simon said...

Doyle - a result that no doubt pleased and affirmed the Democrat-voting researchers, which is precisely why one ought to be skeptical. In a study like this, when your results confirm your own prejudices, of course that doesn't necessarily mean the results are wrong, but it does mean you ought to look especially critically and skeptically at the methodology and premises.

peter hoh said...

What the world needs now: more blanket statements about liberals and conservatives.

jane said...

Flawed study. There was built-in bias to this experiment, since M is for mom, muppets and margaritas, and W is Dubya.

Pogo said...

Simon, I agree that there must be some structural or functional brain differences between liberal and conservative.

The problem is with the wording in both the study and newspaper reporting about the study. For precisely the reasons you discuss, there are other interpretations to their findings which they don't go into. This is a serious flaw, indicating that the editors and reviewers for the study were not themselves aware of alternative interpretations of their data set, except for the one which satisfied a liberal bias.

SteveR said...

Any psych research done solely with college students is crap per se.

Exactly, let's move on, there's nothing to discuss here.

Roger said...

I usually disregard all "science reporters" as scientifically and statistically challenged. Of course, I do tend to be conservative so I guess that proves the researchers' hypothesis.

Ann Althouse said...

jane said..."Flawed study. There was built-in bias to this experiment, since M is for mom, muppets and margaritas, and W is Dubya."

M is for Michigan. W is for Wisconsin.

Roger said...

Does Michigan still have a football team after last weekend?
Pogo: all I could get was the abstract--how did you get hold of the full study without forking over 30.00 bucks.

Roger said...
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Doyle said...
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Sloanasaurus said...

A great way to distinguish liberals from conservatives is that conservatives tend to belive that the default rule for mankind is to be a sinner. Thus we need institutions, laws, etc... to keep us from doing bad things (that includes rules to keep the government from doing bad things).

In contrast, liberals believe that the default rule for mankind is to be good. Therefore, we need institutions and rules, etc.. to make sure people are not prevented from doing good things.

This difference is why conservatives want to check ID at the polls (to keep people from illegally voting), and why liberals want to make it so it is illegal to check ID (to make sure everyone can vote).

Of course what is "good" or "bad" is another debate all together.

Simon said...

Doyle - and people wonder where the nasty tone of modern politics comes from...

garage mahal said...

I'm sure there is a good reason a study would show liberals 5 times as likely to have activity in the part of the brain that deals with conflicts.

Maybe Ann is right, maybe the conservatives just showed up for cash and turned off their brain circuitry to get the study over with so they could go spend it. There are some people that can train themselves to lower their heart/pulse rate. Perhaps it's also plausible all the conservatives that showed up had previously trained to block activity to their anterior cingulate cortex. Or, as Ann says there could be a host of other reasons.

MadisonMan said...

This is science. I'm sure Peter Venkman was in on the peer review.

I wonder if the participants were ever asked what 'M' or 'W' mean to them.

Simon said...

Rhhardin said...
"Hence the maxim that if you're not a liberal at twenty, you have no heart; and if you're not a conservative [by] thirty, you have no brain."

Me, I'm disgusted at myself that I was a socialist at twenty; still, I'm somewhat comforted to know that Bork made the same mistake, and I think it afflicts a lot of people, but most abandon it once they start using their brain for something more than filling an empty space.

Pogo said...

Roger,

it's an institutional subscription.
Brief excerpt:


"To test the hypothesis that political liberalism (versus conservatism) would be associated with greater conflict-related ACC activity, we recorded electroencephalographs from 43 right-handed subjects (63% female) as they performed the Go/No-Go task. Subjects reported their political attitudes confidentially on a -5 (extremely liberal) to +5 (extremely conservative) scale. This single-item measure has been found to account for approximately 85% of the statistical variance in presidential voting intentions in American National Election studies between 1972 and 2004 (ref. 8). Among participants in the present study who reported voting in the 2004 presidential election, a more liberal (versus conservative) ideological orientation strongly predicted voting for John Kerry versus George Bush (r(21) = 0.79, P < 0.001).

In our study, conflict-related ACC activity was indexed by two ERP components. ERPs are scalp-recorded voltage changes reflecting the concerted firing of neurons in response to a psychological event. The response-locked error-related negativity (ERN), which peaks at approximately 50 ms following an incorrect behavioral response9, 10, reflects conflict between a habitual tendency (for example, the Go response) and an alternative response (for example, to inhibit behavior in response to a No-Go stimulus)11. We also examined the No-Go N2 component, which is believed to reflect conflict-monitoring activity associated with the successful inhibition of the prepotent Go response on No-Go trials7. Relationships between political orientation and these neurocognitive indices were examined using correlation analyses (two-tailed).

Political orientation was strongly correlated with ERN amplitudes (r(41) = 0.59, P < 0.001; Fig. 1a), as well as with No-Go N2 amplitudes (r(41) = 0.41, P < 0.01). Specifically, liberalism (versus conservatism) was associated with significantly greater conflict-related neural activity when response inhibition was required (that is, on No-Go trials; Fig. 1b). ERPs associated with correct Go responses, scored to correspond to the ERN and No-Go N2, were not related to political orientation (P's > 0.37). Supplementary source localization analyses confirmed that the ERN and the N2 originated from activity in the dorsal ACC (accounting for 90% and 91% of signal variance, respectively; Fig. 1c, see also Supplementary Fig. 1 and Supplementary Methods online), which is consistent with previous results7, 10.

Larger average ERN amplitudes corresponded to better behavioral accuracy on No-Go trials (r(41) = 0.49, P < 0.001), but were unrelated to accuracy on Go trials. No-Go N2 amplitudes were not related to behavior. In addition, stronger liberalism was correlated with greater accuracy on No-Go trials (r(41) = 0.30, P < 0.05). This association suggests that a more conservative orientation is related to greater persistence in a habitual response pattern, despite signals that this response pattern should change (for example, on No-Go trials). This behavioral finding is consistent with the relationship that we observed between political orientation and neurocognitive sensitivity to response conflict. However, a partial correlation analysis revealed that the relation between political attitudes and the ERN remained strong after covarying behavioral accuracy (r(40) = 0.53, P < 0.001), suggesting that liberalism (versus conservatism) is associated with greater neurocognitive sensitivity to cognitive conflict, beyond what was observed from behavioral performance alone.

Taken together, our results are consistent with the view that political orientation, in part, reflects individual differences in the functioning of a general mechanism related to cognitive control and self-regulation1, 2, 3. Stronger conservatism (versus liberalism) was associated with less neurocognitive sensitivity to response conflicts. At the behavioral level, conservatives were also more likely to make errors of commission. Although a liberal orientation was associated with better performance on the response-inhibition task examined here, conservatives would presumably perform better on tasks in which a more fixed response style is optimal."

Roger said...

Pogo: thanks. The best r they have is .59 which explains slightly less than 30 percent of the variance (r^2). And the r squared go down from there. Anyway, thanks for sharing it. I did note in the rules for submissions, that the journal is peer reviewed so it does have that going for it.

Seven Machos said...

Yet another study demonstrates that conservatives are stupid.

You know who's the smartest of them all? The socialists and the communists. And if we would only listen to them and do what they say, the world would be a much better place, let me just tell you.

Roger said...

Pogo: and at the risk of raising a gender stereotype, 63% were women; are gender differences signficant, and did the authors control for gender?

Hoosier Daddy said...

This is science. I'm sure Peter Venkman was in on the peer review.

"Your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy and your conclusions highly questionable. You’re a poor scientist."

"But the kids love us!"

Seven Machos said...

Speaking of women, NYU undergrad is 62 percent female. Here's the questions:

1. What percent of the students would classify women as minorities at NYU?

2. What percentage would classify women as underrepresented and/or needing support groups?

Doyle said...

The nasty tone of modern politics comes from the unbelievably corrupt and disastrous Bush movement. If your guy would start fewer unjust wars and break fewer laws, we'd get along a lot better.

jane said...

Roger, we're just looking for excuses. Clearly, the fact that 68% of the conservatve participants were dyslectic made no statistical difference.

Would love to see a study on the ideological bent of people who devise these studies.

Pogo said...

Re: "did the authors control for gender?"

Can't say for sure, because it is not mentioned, even in the supplementary material. Its absence suggests no, they did not.

Doyle, the nasty tone of modern politics arose within a few days of Bush winning Florida, and the Democrats took it into lawsuits and an endless hate-fest ever since. The tone was nasty from the left before he even took office, because he was elected over Gore.

Original Mike said...

This is science. I'm sure Peter Venkman was in on the peer review.

Back off, man! I'm a scientist.

Doyle said...
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Seven Machos said...

The tone certainly doesn't come from guys like you and your ilk here, Doyle. You are a regular beacon of civility and decorum.

Seven Machos said...

Pogo -- There's always been a nasty tone in politics. It's just that, somehow, people forget all about it and see the past as all united and different.

It's not unlike older generations not understanding the latest music and fashion trends.

PatCA said...

It is very important to note, as Ann did, the pool of participants in this study: college students. I see studies like this all the time, and the participants are always fellow students--it's easier to get them to help than going out and building a random sample of the general population. Which makes their findings somewhat useless.

Pogo said...

Seven, you're absolutely right, and I knew better.

The darker angels of my nature too often prevail.

Original Mike said...

I took a psychology course way back when, and volunteering for several research studies was a course requirement. I understand that is still SOP today.

garage mahal said...
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Simon said...

Shorter Doyle: "Give us [liberals] what we want and no one gets hurt."

garage mahal said...
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jane said...

It is very important to note, as Ann did, the pool of participants in this study: college students

Oh, college students. Did the Scientists account for the impact of maryjane vs. kegs of beer on perceptional cognition?

Seven Machos said...

Jane -- NYU students aren't much into keg stands. Pot is a prevalent, I'm sure, but the druggies at NYU have generally moved beyond these mere gateway drugs.

garage mahal said...

Correct Pogo
Democrats started this unruliness in 2000, didn't they. BEFORE Bush took office, .

And forget Bush filed the first lawsuit in Florida to stop the recount. Damn angry Democrats. Poor Republicans had no choice but to fly in from around country beating on doors and screaming outside of election offices!

Roger said...

I think its fair to say this level of nasty discourse has pervaded American Politics for over two centuries. Is it worse than before? don't know. It seems to be the nature of the beast, but what has changed, IMO, is the internet and call-in radio as a forum for vituperation (from both partisans) that in days past, was filtered out by the letters to the editor editors.

Simon said...

Seven Machos said...
"The tone certainly doesn't come from guys like you and your ilk here, Doyle. You are a regular beacon of civility and decorum. "

One could do an empirical study of every thread since Ann started allowing comments, to find out who threw the first punch in any argument. And I'm pretty sure that 80% of the time it'd be self-identified liberal commenters, and 19% of the time it'd be drive-by ADS incidents.

Seven Machos said...

Garage -- Why does it bother you when Republicans exercise their First Amendment rights to speak and assemble?

I'm sure you are the first person there telling your fascist brethren to sit down and shut up when they shout down conservative speakers on campuses all over the country. Right?

And I'm sure you find the intolerable marches and protests that occur in and around the White House -- which sometimes draw thousands and tens of thousands -- as absurd bullying. Right?

Right?

Your petard is waiting, jerk.

jane said...
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hdhouse said...

How long did it take to teach conservatives the difference between M and W?...and then to clarify that W wasn't M simply misspelled.

Seven Machos said...

How is W not M misspelled? It's spelled W. Somebody spells it M. Ergo, it's misspelled. QED.

Another leftist who tries to impress everyone with his wit and intelligence and you end spectacularly wrong on every count. Oh, the books that could be written on this phenomenon...

garage mahal said...

Machos
Oh relax, no need to call me a jerk. This study doesn't necessarily mean your dumb and can't resolve conflicts.

Seven Machos said...

Whose dumb? My dumb? No, no. Your Dumb.

You, you stupid conservatives (and we have the lab tests to prove it), have your stupid dumb.

Simon said...

jane said...
"Hard for me to know what kids these days use to escape Reality. My semi-conservative one won't tell.

I find that reading antitrust cases and articles has the desired effect.

Andrew said...

"Stupid people must have streets and numbered houses in their cities, to guide them where to go," observed the grey donkey, as he walked before the visitors on his hind legs, in an awkward but comical manner;
"but clever donkeys know their way about without such absurd marks.
Moreover, a mixed city is much prettier than one with straight streets."

Dorothy did not agree with this, but she said nothing to contradict it.

Bruce Hayden said...

Oh relax, no need to call me a jerk. This study doesn't necessarily mean your dumb and can't resolve conflicts.

Or that you are smart and can spell.

P. Rich said...

So. A childishly simplistic psych department (bastion of "progressive" views) study from NY and CA universities (bastions of "progressive" views) with meaningless results presented in binary political terms. What, one must ask, does that say about the testers, the test and the objectives of both? Blech, and other disgusting things.

Seven Machos said...

Brilliant leftist slinks away, damns blogger for lack of edit button...

reader_iam said...

The nasty tone of modern politics comes from the unbelievably corrupt and disastrous Bush movement.

It does?

Well, burn my history books, purge my memory, and please God, above all, let me never again look either into a mirror or at the faces of my fellow citizens!

reader_iam said...

'Cuz that's what it would take for me to become close to that oblivious.

reader_iam said...

Jeez, Doyle, you're such a conservative. Who knew?!?

lee david said...

Speaking of the rancor and acrimony of political discourse, I have just finished reading the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Chernow. Very worthwhile. If you think that todays political climate is sour, You need to check up on this period of time just after the constitutional founding of the nation. You will find that the pamphleteers and editorialist of the time are roughly analogous to the most extreme bloggers and polemicists of today, except that they were perhaps worse. Todays scribblers and screamers are pikers by comparison. Jefferson while vice president to Adams paid a polemicist named Callender to malign Adams and Hamilton. When Callender was fined and jailed for 9 months under the sedition act for his writing, he appealed to Jefferson for help with his fine, Jefferson only gave him a measly fifty bucks and Callender flipped. He published documentation of Jefferson's payments while vice president and introduced the world to Sally Hemmings. Calling her "Sooty Sal" and referring to the Republicans of the day as the "mulatto party". Callender drowned under mysterious circumstances less than a year later.

Doyle said...

Being anti-unprovoked invasion and pro-observance of statutory law aren't conservative ideas anymore. They're deeply unserious liberal fantasies that fail to adequately account for the Islamofascist threat.

That's why we have to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, even though terrorist attacks have increased dramatically since they've been there. The violence means its working.

Seven Machos said...

Terrorist attacks on armies aren't terrorist attacks.

Doyle said...

I'm not just talking about attacks on armies.

Sloanasaurus said...

That's why we have to keep troops in Iraq indefinitely, even though terrorist attacks have increased dramatically since they've been there. The violence means its working.

Where have terrorist attacks increased dramatically? If you mean Iraq, what are you comparing it to? Are you basing your facts on Saddam's state run media ?

In case you forgot, Saddam's entire government was terrorism. How did 300,000 Iraqis end up in mass graves? Through rule of law?

Seven Machos said...

Terrorist attacks on civilians in war zones are not so much terrorist attacks, either. Unless you want to argue that Dresden was one big terrorist operation, not to mention Nagasaki.

Some people do I suppose. I don't. The difference is: our enemies in Iraq are killing civilians for real political objectives in trying to win a war. Terrorists are killing civilians for theatrical objectives in peace time.

knoxwhirled said...

P. Rich, I had a similar reaction. That is, blech.

Findings like this are the result when narcissistic "scientists" go to work in their ivory tower thinking: "lessee, how can I make me feel good about me today...I know! lets do a study...

peter hoh said...

Also, there is the matter of which students self-identify as "conservative" -- especially among the students who chose to attend New York University and UCLA, where the study was done. These may be very usual people.

Didn't you mean to type unusual in the last excerpted sentence?

Doyle said...

Why don't you click through that link and see what I mean when I say terrorist attacks are up. That is, if you can keep your Ms and Ws straight.

Seven Machos said...

This increase was due to a doubling (91 percent increase) of terrorist attacks against noncombatants in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, and a 53 percent increase in terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

Or maybe you should read the crap you link to, Doyle.

knoxwhirled said...

unprovoked invasion

So I guess you are also peeved at the UN for its numerous unprovoked resolutions, and Blix for all his unprovoked weapons inspections...

Doyle said...

Knox, you know the "ivory tower" is just a metaphor, right? It's not actually a laboratory on the Upper West Side where liberal scientists plot to embarrass conservatives.

Although if it were I'd donate to it.

Sissy Willis said...

"Previous psychological studies have found that conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments."

Well, yes. They stick to their principles.

". . . whereas liberals are more open to new experiences . . . 'There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major revolutions in science.'"

Yah, like liberals' support of voice-in-the-wilderness challenges by global-warming "deniers" in the human-induced-climate-change "debate." Or their openness to giving General Petraeus a chance to speak at his hearing this afternoon before "running a full-page advertisement in the New York Times under the headline: 'General Petraeus or General Betray us? Cooking the books for the White House.'"

When scientists "join in the political fray, where they really don't belong"

Doyle said...

Uh, no. I'm peeved about the invasion in the face of Blix's fruitless inspections, not to mention the utter mendacity of the case presented to the country and the U.N.

Seven Machos said...

Doyle -- I will consider your lack of response an admission that you recognize that you are full of shit.

Pogo said...

I can picture liberal students "volunteering" for their professor's studies, and doing their best.

I can also picture the conservative student who thinks he's gott show up but finds out "I'm not getting paid for this? What? I am paying tuition to be in this study?" and thinking 'screw that', showing up and doing the old 'work to the rule' method of participation.

Peer-reviewed or not, don't the editors question that the authors came up with no other possible conclusion than their first one? I can think of five serious ones without even trying very hard. Criminey. What a waste of grant money.

knoxwhirled said...

in the face of Blix's fruitless inspections

doyle, you do know that the job of weapons inspectors is not to "find" weapons, right?

Their task is to witness or document the destruction of weapons they *already know* exist (all those Kuwaitis were killed by something, after all). Saddam refused to comply. (See Libya's recent disarmament for how it's supposed to be done.)

Blix took it upon himself to play keystone cops--hey, another metaphor! I know he's not really a cop, thanks--running around, looking for them. A fruitless exercise, indeed, if there ever was one.

This is why even though Blix never found anything, everyone still believed Saddam had WMDs, right up to the time of the invasion. Including virtually every prominient democrat, including Clinton and Gore. And they did so long before Bush came into office, so don't use the whole Bush Lied! canard.

Doyle said...

Not everyone believed that Saddam Hussein had reconstituted his nuclear weapons program. That was just the impression that all the bogus evidence that the Bush administration cited was intended to get across.

Nukes are the only variety of WMD whose existence in Iraq would have warranted invasion. Hence the false claims about aluminum tubes, yellowcake uranium, etc.

That's not even getting into the lies designed to get people to believe in a Saddam-9/11 connection (Prague meeting "pretty well confirmed"), which was of course another big plank in the case for war.

This was all bulls--- whether or not prominent Democrats said so at the time. A lot of Dems supported the invasion, but a lot of them didn't, which is more than can be said for Republicans.

So please put away the "Everybody thought they had WMD" canard.

blake said...

Andrew,

That's The Road To Oz, isn't it? (They blur a bit after a while.)

It's sort of meta, too, because people are always trying to shoehorn Baum and Oz into a cohesive political statement. It's an exercise in futility.

Pogo said...

Re: "So please put away the "Everybody thought they had WMD" canard."

Doyle's always fighting yesterday's battles, like some Civil War re-enactor.

The rest of the world is on to this burning question: what do we do now? To which Doyle dutifully responds There weren't any WMD, at least several Demcorats said so, so we shouldn't be there in the first place!!!

Not an answer at all, but immensely satsifying the crowd good at distinguishing their Ms from Ws.

The NYTimes 5th National Joe Wilson "Bush Lied" Reenactment
*Two Exciting Flame Wars Each Day
*10,000-15,000 Blog Reenactors Expected
*Massive Kos's Charge
*Buy real yellow cake
*One Hundred Democrats Expected
*Live MoveOn Demonstrations
*Expansive Living History Iraqi Village with kite flying
*Two Anti-Bush Activities Tents with continuous programs
*Large & Culturally Diverse Homeless Village (100 homeless)
*Enjoy a Variety of Delicious Food and Beverages

Palladian said...

Doyle, you've been a tainted olive in our martini for far too long!

Do every freakin' discussion have to turn into another boring rehash of the Iraq war? It's the world's most boring kind of weblog conversation; all the best flames and rejoinders were used up by 2006. Now it's just endless, lackluster repetition, like a TV show that has gone on a few seasons longer than it should have.

Besides, there's an actual Iraq war post today; why not carry on this boring conversation in a thread actually devoted to the subject?

Tibore said...

Pogo,

Is it just me, or in the broad conclusions drawn by some from the findings, does it seem like this study is an echo of the "science" of phrenology back in the early 20th century?

Just sayin... what was that quote again? The first time as tragedy, the second time as farce...

Pogo said...

Tibore
Good call!

I have a pair of phrenology measurement calipers. They're fun to bring out whenever there's an argument and start measuring someone's skull.

Shan said...

"Also, there is the matter of which students self-identify as "conservative" -- especially among the students who chose to attend New York University and UCLA, where the study was done."

NYU has one of the best business schools in the country. Students there, believe or not, are far more conservative than liberal.

Doyle said...

Well I would think you'd prefer to continue defending the glorious Iraq Victory-in-Progress.

This thread is about how there's actually something wrong with the way conservatives are wired.

Pogo said...

Re: "how there's actually something wrong with the way conservatives are wired."

Exactly Doyle!
You speak just like a leftist researcher.

Doyle said...

Were the researchers leftists? Are they the same ones who cooked up the "human-caused global warming" conspiracy to crash the capitalist system?

I bet they were.

Tibore said...

Pogo! What have you got those calipers for! Have you been secretly measuring heads at the local library and writing conclusions from that??

;)

If so, you discover anything interesting? :^D

Revenant said...

It may be that liberal students want to help further science and conservative students are showing up for the cash.

The reason I took part in psych experiments in college is that it was a requirement for most of the undergraduate psych courses -- you had to "volunteer" for two to five hours of testing (depending on the course) in order to pass. There was no requirement that you try to behave the way the testers wanted you to, though. So I usually didn't bother following the instructions.

titus20 said...

Good evening fellow conservatives and social republicans....and unpatriotic, whiny, unamerican liberals who come to this site to be disrupt.

How was everyone's weekend?

I see the surge is working and things are going positively in Iraq. The liberals will now commence whining and crying.

Did Althouse mention nipples in one of her posts....yum....nipples, rock, hard nipples blowing in the wind, pulsating, throbbing nipples, succulent nipples needing to rest in my warm mouth...

Ann Althouse said...

Original Mike said..."I took a psychology course way back when, and volunteering for several research studies was a course requirement. I understand that is still SOP today."

When I was a college student, I volunteered to make money (like $5). I always tried though, because I wanted the researcher to admire me. (Lame!)

But today, I don't know. Maybe students are required to volunteer for some things, but I'd be surprised if they didn't pay for a test that included an electroencephalogram. Those things are a bit of a physical ordeal.

titus20 said...

I was in Ogunquit Maine this weekend.

The place was overrun with French Canadians and homosexuals.

Talk about a bunch of surrender monkeys-if there was a surrender monkey capital Ogunquit Maine will be it.

I saw Ray Bolger's old house though, how glamorous is that?

Palladian said...

"I saw Ray Bolger's old house though, how glamorous is that?"

Not very, honey.

titus20 said...

Palladian I was being sarcastic...Doris Day bought it after Ray Bolger, any more glamorous now? That's what I thought, you are eating your words now aren't you Padlum?

Also, I tracked up to see the Bush house in Kennepunkport-now that was glamorous.

Kennepunkport is so deliciously quaint. Ocean Drive is fabulous up there.

titus20 said...

I was hoping to see Babs in a bikini this weekend but no luck.

Now that is some cleavage.

Those are a pair of tough nipples.


Yum, nipples....

Revenant said...

I'd be surprised if they didn't pay for a test that included an electroencephalogram. Those things are a bit of a physical ordeal.

Students at UC San Diego didn't get paid for that, at least not when we were being forced to volunteer for course credit. I don't know about other schools. But yes, EEGs are a huge pain to deal with. That conductive gel is hard to get out of your hair.

I thought then, and still do, that any psych experiment relying on coerced "volunteers" should be immediately discarded as invalid, unless the theory being tested specifically called for unwilling subjects.

jane said...

Gosh, does anyone here even think young college students' brains are fully formed? Much less not compromised by substance abuse and sleep deprivation, etc.? (I self-edited there)

What about a "study" of libs and cons among older people who've held down a job with a some life experience under the belt? Maybe there would be more meaningful cognitive-perception differences there. Maybe not.

What a useless study, anyway. Typically liberal, to no end, really. Are we to formulate curricula and government policy around such (specious) findings? Perhaps we should make cons the masons and libs the designers, cons the enforcers and libs the smart treaty negotiators?

Right.

Ann Althouse said...

"That conductive gel is hard to get out of your hair."

When I witnessed an EEG, it involved scratching the scalp with a needle to make the connection... many times. The person getting the test cried a lot.

Revenant said...

I recall that the scratching part was uncomfortable, but it wasn't that bad. They just need to scrape off the dead skin, if I recall correctly.

Maybe the person you witnessed had a bad technician (or sensitive skin).

titus20 said...

Bab's Bush's nipples, picture them.

XWL said...

So to spin this the other way...,

Self described liberals when asked to do dumb repetitive tasks, do so unquestioningly, and require more of their brain function to accomplish the task.

Self described conservatives when asked to do dumb repetitive tasks, don't care if their answers are wrong or right (as they discern that the 'study' is dumb to begin with), and use much less of their brain to accomplish the task (suggesting that they're more capable at doing these tasks with minimum effort).

It's rare to find a data set in these kinds of studies that can't be summarized in a manner that spins it whichever way you desire.

This ain't science, this is just academic wankery.

mtrobertsattorney said...

If the mind is merely an epiphenomenon of the brain, then there is no hope for liberals.

On the other hand, if the brain is merely an organ utilized by the mind, then a liberal just might be able to think himself past that dense cloud of ambiguity that surrounds his world view.

Revenant said...

If the mind is merely an epiphenomenon of the brain, then there is no hope for liberals.

That's not true at all. The brain isn't static -- it changes constantly.

I assume you don't believe in a magical force that makes your car move and perform the way it does, and that you accept the idea that its power comes from its internal combustion engine. Does it follow that there is "no hope" for a car that doesn't run efficiently? Of course not -- you can fix the car, or change it so that it works the way you want it to.

The brain is a self-tuning "car" -- within limits, at least.

From Inwood said...

Tibore has nailed it: phrenology!

As one humorist put it about the way scientists formulate their theories: “If I hadn’t believed it, I would never have seen it.”

Even tho we conservatives keep showing that these surveys are junk, assorted academicians & the MSM have blind faith that similar (or worse) things are axiomatic, just waiting-to-be-studied-and-reported-on, and, moreover, that such faith makes them more astute than those crudely asking for a higher standard of research.

If I may, I would repeat the late post I made on the "flack" vs. "flak" thread:

Been busy over the weekend, but I see that you guys spent a lot of time over what Libs know was an unimportant typo.

Now, when Quale misspelled “potato”, that was important & deserving of time spent to show that Conservatives & Republicans are stupid whereas Liberals & Democrats are smart.

And the "Bushism of that Day", remarks made by Bush 43 which contained, as do much off-the-cuff remarks, some lapses in grammar or pronunciation? Why, what's your problem? Pointing that out was important, because once again it shows that we Libs are the smart ones & Election 2000 was stolen, see?

And those parodies of Ike giving a bumbling Washington's farewell to the troops speech or giving a rambling Gettysburg Address? Well, yet once more, those were important necessary & appropriate comments on the general illiteracy of Republicans & how the American booboisie foolishly voted for him over urbane, sophisticated, witty Adlai.

PS. Someone commented, correctly, that Dictionaries now list as a second definition of "flack", "variant of "flak". This is because such works have lowered their standards.

See Fowler's "misprints" & "pairs & snares"