Monday, February 06, 2006

Twirling the cognitive kaleidoscope

Researchers find that political hacks' brains reward themselves chemically on order to ignore information that contradicts their beliefs:
Researchers asked staunch party members from both sides to evaluate information that threatened their preferred candidate prior to the 2004 Presidential election. The subjects' brains were monitored while they pondered...

"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," Westen said. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones."

I'm pretty sure I could see this process happening on the faces of conservatives and socialists who I knew in college.