Saturday, September 24, 2011

continuing the link spam...

Excellent article about that "conservatives and liberals have different brains!" thing.

Neuroscience reporting usually bothers me immensely, because there's a tendency to blow the most minor statistical findings ridiculously out of proportion -- you see this with gender and sexuality especially; it seems to bring out every reporter's inner love of the Mars/Venus metaphor. "Gosh, men have slightly more active ___ than women. BLAH BLAH CAVEMEN SMASH MEN ARE MANLY MEN AND WOMEN ARE GIRLY GIRLY GIRLS."

Or in this case, "BLAH BLAH LIBERALS ARE SUPER EVOLVED LOGICAL THINKERS AND CONSERVATIVES ARE OVEREMOTIONAL SCAREDYCATS," which (1) I might be a liberal, but wow, way to be an insulting asshole; and (2) doesn't science have a bad enough rep with the Republican party as it is? Let's not undermine ourselves here.

...Not to say that every reporter (or blogger) does this, but when people have their biases apparently supported by Hard Scientific Data, it's amazing how fast the stereotypes and just-so fairytales appear.

Anyway, this article does a very good job of explaining the observed patterns in the data, links to a good critique of the studies involved, and finishes by suggesting some implications for cross-party communication and framing. It's cogent, well-researched, reasonable and actually useful - very worth a look!

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