The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Political Biology

by The Loh Down On Science

Scientists discover a link between physiology and political beliefs.

Does politics affect our. . . bodily functions?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying, indeed--

Douglas Oxley, from the University of Nebraska, recruited about fifty volunteers with strong political beliefs, and interrogated them about their views.

He fitted them with gadgets that measured blinking rate and natural electrical pulses in the skin. Both intensify when a person is startled.

Then he messed with their emotions. While displaying a series of lovely computer images-- like bunnies--he would suddenly flash a bloody face or blast the sound of static.

The mind game, however, only spooked about HALF the volunteers.

Oddly enough, the split occurred according to political attitude:

Scaredy cats more strongly supported policies that maintained strict social order, like military spending and the death penalty.

The calmer set endorsed LESS protectionism, such as, oh, liberal immigration policies.

Essentially, subjects who were less physically sensitive were ALSO less philosophically worried.

That is, we're BORN reactive--or numb--and our political persuasion can be, to an extent, written in our DNA.

Which apparently comes in elephant or donkey shapes. Who knew?

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy The Loh Down On Science? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC