Friday, October 31, 2014

Liberal vs. Conservative: Grossout Response Reveals Political Tilt

This is only mildly disgusting; so does that mean mildly conservative reactions?
It's looking like the intensity of your "Ewwwwwww!" response to disgusting images can tell the world whether you're a liberal or a conservative, a new finding that is perhaps even more relevant today, Halloween. The accuracy of a survey conducted by Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute's Read Montague (among others) is at about 98 percent, according to a press release from VTCRI.

Conservatives, the report concludes, react more strongly to disgusting images like "maggot infestations, rotting carcasses, unidentifiable gunk in the kitchen sink" and the like. The study is published in the new issue of Current Biology.
Read Montague
“Disgusting images generate neural responses that are highly predictive of political orientation even when those neural responses don’t correspond with an individual’s conscious reaction to the images,” says Montague. “Remarkably, we found that the brain’s response to a single disgusting image was enough to predict an individual’s political ideology.”

It appears that "political ideologies are mapped onto established neural responses that may have served to protect our ancestors against environmental threats. Those neural responses could be passed down family lines – it’s likely that disgust reactions are inherited," says the release.

Says Montague, “We pursued this research because previous work in a twin registry showed that political ideology – literally the degree to which someone is liberal or conservative – was highly heritable, almost as heritable as height."

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