Dr. Amodio, the corresponding author of the report I mentioned Thursday, “Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism,” was kind enough to send me the article and the supporting material. The picture above is the figure that accompanies the 2 page report.
I believe that the paper may demonstrate some evidence concerning the part of the brain which deals with reacting to visual stimuli by making a choice between the correct and incorrect choices. The experiment involved a questionnaire, self description as to “Liberal” vs. “Conservative” along a gradient of “very liberal” to neutral to very conservative, and then participating in a “Go/No Go” experiment while a latex cap placed on the head measured the participant’s brain wave paterns or EEG.
The 43 participants were college students and 63% of them were female. The figure 1a indicates that 7 of them identified as conservative, although none called themselves “very conservative.”
There is no mention of correlation of any of the other variables (age, gender, visual acuity) involved in hand to eye coordination.
I’m afraid that, as I feared, the problem with the experimental method is that these participants predominantly identified as liberal and that there is some sort of blind spot at work at Nature Neuroscience.
>The problem is that someone though 'liberal' and 'conservative' good groups to classify people into. It should be blindingly obvious that when those two terms show up in a paper, a great many people will attempt to read into it some way to declare their own site 'better' than the other.Example: Caution, Stupid people ahead.I am reminded of some researchers in Nazi Germany who wrote a paper comparing the distribution of blood types in different ethnic groups. Perfectly good, valid research – but as soon as they wrote it the political types got hold and started distorting it to 'prove' that Jewish blood was inferior to Ayran blood, and all others somewhere in between.What this actually says about liberals vs conservatives is this: Liberals respond a little faster to a change in heuristic during a button-pressing game. Thats it. Nothing more. It barely even says that, considering what a vague classification political position is.
>In other words, it does not prove that selection bias does not exist. The n is too small for a complex behavioral subject and the variables are too great. However, the real story is that the conclusions are mere sensationalism and Nature Neuroscience didn't care.