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Politics Roundup

February 10, 2012

Research suggests that conservatives pay more attention to unpleasant images and liberals, to pleasant ones.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Politics and the brain. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

When you listen to Republicans and Democrats, you might conclude that they look at world with different eyes. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln report this might actually be the case. They had volunteers look at positive and negative images on a computer screen and monitored their emotional response and eye gaze. They found that conservatives were attentive and emotional toward unpleasant images, while liberals focused on the pleasant ones. The researchers conclude that there may be biological underpinnings to the Republican’s focus on threats, like terror, crime, immorality and debt,  and the Democrat’s focus on new programs intended to make things better.

A study in the journal Psychological Science reports that people who feel powerful think they’re taller than they are.  Volunteers told that their test scores showed that they were strong leaders consistently overestimated their height, while those told they were average reported it accurately. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.