If You Don't Love This Column, You Can Blame Your Brain

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 27, 2004 | Go to article overview

If You Don't Love This Column, You Can Blame Your Brain


Byline: Burt Constable

It's not your fault if you don't stand up and cheer every political column I write.

Neuroscientists are discovering that the reason you don't react that way is because - I'll type as slowly as I can so that you can comprehend this - your ... brain ... simply ... does ... not ... respond ... to ... intelligent ... reasoning.

Or - to play Donald Rumsfeld's advocate - the reason you find all my political columns so utterly asinine is because my brain never fires on all cylinders.

Experiments at a ground-breaking brain study at UCLA are finding that the brains of Republicans react differently than the brains of Democrats, according to an April 20 story in The New York Times.

Using magnetic resonance imaging, researchers study the blood flow in brains of subjects who watch political commercials. While the neuroscientists haven't figured out what the M.R.I. results mean, they are finding that the active parts of the Republican brain are different than the active parts of the Democratic brain.

This explains how nearly half of Americans can think that George Bush has done a good job with his handling of Iraq, while an equal number of Americans react to that poll in stunned disbelief by moving a finger across their lips to make the motorboat sound.

Is there some physical process in our brains that separates the GOP from the Dems?

"Well, of course, I was never sure the Democrats had brains, so it's hard for me to respond to that," quips Gary Skoien, chairman of the Cook County Republicans.

"Maybe we just use more of our brains," counters Gayl Ferraro, chairwoman of the DuPage County Democrat Organization. She says the brain research is interesting, but a tad unsettling.

"I think it's kind of scary if they get too far with this," Ferraro says, envisioning political commercials with a Pavlovian power to control the minds of voters.

"I think of them as clones anyway," Ferraro says of the conservative, Rush Limbaugh-led types who proudly call themselves "dittoheads. …

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If You Don't Love This Column, You Can Blame Your Brain
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