Sunday, October 16, 2011


A few things people may be interested in.

Tasks that do and don't correlate with IQ.

And one that probably didn't get much publicity by the mainstream media.

Income and Ideology: How Personality Traits, Cognitive Ability, and Education Shape Political Attitudes.
Good Study from Denmark. Basically, intelligent wealthy people are right wing, intelligent poor people, Left.

Jonathan Haidt gives a very good presentation showing just how biased the cognitive psychology crowd is. He ends up getting a serve from our favourite Nobel Laureate. Apparently he is an expert on cognitive psychology as well.

With regard to bias, this study gave conservatives quite a bit of consternation:
Neurocognitive Correlates of Liberalism and Conservatism, demonstrated differences in experimental performance based on political ideology.
Political scientists and psychologists have noted that, on average, conservatives show more structured and persistent cognitive styles, whereas liberals are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty. We tested the hypothesis that these profiles relate to differences in generalneurocognitive functioning using event-related potentials, and found that greater liberalism was associated with stronger conflict-related anterior cingulate activity, suggesting greaterneurocognitive sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual response pattern.
There was much self congratulatory press amongst the liberal crowd, which was probably premature. Now, I personally don't have a problem with the experimental data, it's the interpretations that I have a problem with. Now another set of researchers have looked at anterior cingualate activity and found that it is involved with the "policing" of conflicting information.  From a review paper:
How should we interpret the anterior cingulate activation? There are two main views of the primary role of the anterior cingulate in cognition. One view is that it is an area of the brain that notes unusual events or errors in the environment. The other view is that the anterior cingulate is involved ininhibiting responses. Either of these two views indicates that in our experiment, participants are treating data that are inconsistent with their plausible theories in ways that are different from consistent information. From the perspective of science education these data clearly show that just presenting students with anomalies will not produce conceptual change. What the results of these two experiments show is that prior belief in a theory influences the interpretation of data in a highly specific way. Specifically, data inconsistent with one’s expectations are treated as errors and thus not easily incorporated into one’s knowledge representation. [Ed]
Yep, liberal brains are more active in suppressing novel data that doesn't accord with preconceived views.

Finally, I managed to track down this interesting paper;  The role of cognitive resources in determining our moral intuitions: Are we all liberals at heart?

Once again, the data is good, the interpretation is not. What the study shows, is that conservatives begin to morally reason like liberals only when their cognitive resources are preoccupied with something else.  My take on it, to put it very bluntly, is that a liberal is a conservative with half a brain.


Lexus Liberal said...

Or perhaps Liberals are just social idealists and optimists for human equality.

Again the HBD crowd needs to specify which "liberal" subcategory these sample data and assumptions correlate to, since generalizing liberals is a ridiculous endeavor. Considering they are nearly half the U.S. population, there's a huge margin of error.

The Social Pathologist said...


Or perhaps Liberals are just social idealists and optimists for human equality.

Noble intentions are not enough. I don't think that it is necessary to differentiate liberals since the common theme that unites them all is reality denial.