Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Trump, the politics of fear and racism: How our brains can be manipulated to tribalism

In situations perceived as dangerous humans have historically tended to trust others in one tribe and authorities of kindred spirits. The downside is politicians seen as authorities (even when they are not) can exploit this trust for their own gain. Politicians will go so far as to dehumanize those outside one’s tribe and portray “the other’ as less worthy and the enemy.

This thought provoking article by The Conversation** can be found at https://theconversation.com/trump-the-politics-of-fear-and-racism-how-our-brains-can-be-manipulated-to-tribalism-139811

**”Academic rigor, journalistic flair

June 12, 2020 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

The biology of politics: Liberals roll with the good, conservatives confront the bad

 

The biology of politics: Liberals roll with the good, conservatives confront the bad

New study brings to light physiological, cognitive differences of political left and right

Excerpt from the 23 January 2012 Eureka news alert

 

 

English: Number of self-identified Democrats vs. self-identified Republicans, per state, according to Gallup, January-June 2010 [1].

   18+ point Democratic advantage
   10-17 point Democratic advantage
   3-9 point Democratic advantage
   2 point Democratic advantage through 2 point Republican advantage
   3-9 point Republican advantage
   10-17 point Republican advantage
   18+ point Republican advantage

 

 

 

 

From cable TV news pundits to red-meat speeches in Iowa and New Hampshire, our nation’s deep political stereotypes are on full display: Conservatives paint self-indulgent liberals as insufferably absent on urgent national issues, while liberals say fear-mongering conservatives are fixated on exaggerated dangers to the country.

A new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln suggests there are biological truths to such broad brushstrokes.

In a series of experiments, researchers closely monitored physiological reactions and eye movements of study participants when shown combinations of both pleasant and unpleasant images. Conservatives reacted more strongly to, fixated more quickly on, and looked longer at the unpleasant images; liberals had stronger reactions to and looked longer at the pleasant images compared with conservatives.

“It’s been said that conservatives and liberals don’t see things in the same way,” said Mike Dodd, UNL assistant professor of psychology and the study’s lead author. “These findings make that clear – quite literally.”

To gauge participants’ physiological responses, they were shown a series of images on a screen. Electrodes measured subtle skin conductance changes, which indicated an emotional response. The cognitive data, meanwhile, was gathered by outfitting participants with eyetracking equipment that captured even the most subtle of eye movements while combinations of unpleasant and pleasant photos appeared on the screen.

While liberals’ gazes tended to fall upon the pleasant images, such as a beach ball or a bunny rabbit, conservatives clearly focused on the negative images – of an open wound, a crashed car or a dirty toilet, for example.

Consistent with the idea that conservatives seem to respond more to negative stimuli while liberals respond more to positive stimuli, conservatives also exhibited a stronger physiological response to images of Democratic politicians – presumed to be a negative to them – than they did on pictures of well-known Republicans. Liberals, on the other hand, had a stronger physiological response to the Democrats – presumed to be a positive stimulus to them – than they did to images of the Republicans…

 

January 27, 2012 Posted by | Psychology | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Views on health disparities fueled largely by political ideology

Harry Perlstadt, a Michigan State University sociologist, contends party ideology is more important than party affiliation when it comes to public perception of health disparities.

 

From a November 9 Michigan State University press release

EAST LANSING, Mich. — When it comes to public perception about health disparities in the United States, political ideology plays a surprisingly large role – more so even than party affiliation, according to new research by a Michigan State University sociologist.

“As far as our beliefs about unequal access to health care, whether we are conservative or liberal seems to be much more important than whether we are Republican or Democrat,” said Harry Perlstadt, professor of sociology.

Perlstadt’s study is the first to scientifically examine political and ideological beliefs on the issue of health disparities. He will present his findings today at the American Public Health Association’s 138th annual meeting in Denver….

…….He commissioned a telephone survey with MSU’s Institute for Public Policy and Social Research that gathered information on the respondents and asked a series of questions regarding their beliefs about health disparities. The questions included, “How often do you think the health care system treats people unfairly based on whether they have health insurance?” and “How often does a person’s race or ethnic background affect whether they can get routine medical care when they need it?”

Perlstadt analyzed the survey data and found that race, age, sex, income and whether a respondent lived in an urban or rural community all influenced their beliefs on health disparities. Political party and ideology also affected their beliefs – only not quite as Perlstadt had predicted.

November 9, 2010 Posted by | Health News Items | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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