News Stories

It's All in the Eyes

Many people think we need to transform our politics here in the US. If you want to know what political side someone you're talking to is REALLY on, look into their eyes. People normally glance in the direction that another person is looking because they're curious to find out what caught that person's attention. A new study shows that liberals respond much more strongly to these cues than conservatives do.

In LiveScience.com, Stephanie Pappas quotes psychologist Michael Dodd as saying, "Across a variety of tasks, we are beginning to find a consistent pattern where conservatives are more responsive to threat/disgust, more responsive to angry faces, and less sensitive to gaze cues than liberals. Liberals, on the other hand, are proving to be more responsive to positive/appetitive stimuli, more responsive to happy faces, and more sensitive to gazes."

Does this mean that our political affiliations are GENETIC? Dodd thinks that liberals are more empathetic and thus more responsive to others. Or it could be that conservatives value personal autonomy more than liberals, making them less likely to be influenced by others. Pappas quotes him as saying, "I think the important thing to take from this line of research is that it is another piece of evidence that biology can influence political temperament. I don't think it is the sole influence, but it is another important piece of the puzzle that should not be ignored."

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