Love this line: “science readers should just ignore the conclusion woo.”
Seriously, the authors are evidently expanding their publication of research (along the line of this prior study, “Disgust sensitivity and the neurophysiology of left-right political orientations,”Free access at Pub Med), using eye movements and skin conductance changes in response to visual stimuli (pretty bunny vs. violent images and Republican vs. Democratic politicians) and conclude that there is an evolutionary purpose/causation.
The conclusions the researchers draw are not as grounded; rather than showing that tolerances are why people pick parties, they try to say evolution is at the root, claiming political leanings are at least partial products of our biology, which goes to show you that political scientists and psychologists who don’t understand biology should not invoke it, at least as cause and effect. But the new study’s use of cognitive data regarding both positive and negative imagery adds to the understanding of how liberals and conservatives see and experience the world and that has value, even if the more broad conclusions are not evidence-based.
UNL professor of political science and psychology John Hibbing goes too far when he tries to play evolutionary psychologist, claiming the results might mean that those on the right are more attuned and attentive to aversive elements in life and are more naturally inclined to confront them, which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint, he said. That would mean humans are two distinct species, but only in America, so science readers should just ignore the conclusion woo and focus on the negative/positive responses they found in people already left or right and see where it can take us.