Concept: Political spectrum
A positivity advantage is known in emotional word recognition in that positive words are consistently processed faster and with fewer errors compared to emotionally neutral words. A similar advantage is not evident for negative words. Results of divided visual field studies, where stimuli are presented in either the left or right visual field and are initially processed by the contra-lateral brain hemisphere, point to a specificity of the language-dominant left hemisphere. The present study examined this effect by showing that the intake of caffeine further enhanced the recognition performance of positive, but not negative or neutral stimuli compared to a placebo control group. Because this effect was only present in the right visual field/left hemisphere condition, and based on the close link between caffeine intake and dopaminergic transmission, this result points to a dopaminergic explanation of the positivity advantage in emotional word recognition.
Among American Conservatives, but not Liberals, trust in science has been declining since the 1970’s. Climate science has become particularly polarized, with Conservatives being more likely than Liberals to reject the notion that greenhouse gas emissions are warming the globe. Conversely, opposition to genetically-modified (GM) foods and vaccinations is often ascribed to the political Left although reliable data are lacking. There are also growing indications that rejection of science is suffused by conspiracist ideation, that is the general tendency to endorse conspiracy theories including the specific beliefs that inconvenient scientific findings constitute a “hoax.”
Embodied cognition research has shown how actions or body positions may affect cognitive processes, such as autobiographical memory retrieval or judgments. The present study examined the role of body balance (to the left or the right) in participants on their attributions to political parties. Participants thought they stood upright on a Wii(™) Balance Board, while they were actually slightly tilted to the left or the right. Participants then ascribed fairly general political statements to one of 10 political parties that are represented in the Dutch House of Representatives. Results showed a significant interaction of congruent leaning direction with left- or right-wing party attribution. When the same analyses were performed with the political parties being divided into affiliations to the right, center, and left based on participants' personal opinions rather than a ruling classification, no effects were found. The study provides evidence that conceptual metaphors are activated by manipulating body balance implicitly. Moreover, people’s judgments may be colored by seemingly trivial circumstances such as standing slightly out of balance.
Nodal and BMP signals are important for establishing left-right (LR) asymmetry in vertebrates. In sea urchins, Nodal signaling prevents the formation of the rudiment on the right side. However, the opposing pathway to Nodal signaling during LR axis establishment is not clear. Here, we revealed that BMP signaling is activated in the left coelomic pouch, specifically in the veg2 lineage, but not in the small micromeres. By perturbing BMP activities, we demonstrated that BMP signaling is required for activating the expression of the left-sided genes and the formation of the left-sided structures. On the other hand, Nodal signals on the right side inhibit BMP signaling and control LR asymmetric separation and apoptosis of the small micromeres. Our findings show that BMP signaling is the positive signal for left-sided development in sea urchins, suggesting that the opposing roles of Nodal and BMP signals in establishing LR asymmetry are conserved in deuterostomes.
Vestibular inputs make a key contribution to the sense of one’s own spatial location. While the effects of vestibular stimulation on visuo-spatial processing in neurological patients have been extensively described, the normal contribution of vestibular inputs to spatial perception remains unclear. To address this issue, we used a line bisection task to investigate the effects of galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) on spatial perception, and on the transition between near and far space. Brief left-anodal and right-cathodal GVS or right-anodal and left-cathodal GVS were delivered. A sham stimulation condition was also included. Participants bisected lines of different lengths at six distances from the body using a laser pointer. Consistent with previous results, our data showed an overall shift in the bisection bias from left to right as viewing distance increased. This pattern suggests leftward bias in near space, and rightward bias in far space. GVS induced strong polarity dependent effects in spatial perception, broadly consistent with those previously reported in patients: left-anodal and right-cathodal GVS induced a leftward bisection bias, while right-anodal and left-cathodal GVS reversed this effect, and produced bisection bias toward the right side of the space. Interestingly, the effects of GVS were comparable in near and far space. We speculate that vestibular-induced biases in space perception may optimize gathering of information from different parts of the environment.
Happiness is a subjective experience that is an ultimate goal for humans. Psychological studies have shown that subjective happiness can be measured reliably and consists of emotional and cognitive components. However, the neural substrates of subjective happiness remain unclear. To investigate this issue, we used structural magnetic resonance imaging and questionnaires that assessed subjective happiness, the intensity of positive and negative emotional experiences, and purpose in life. We found a positive relationship between the subjective happiness score and gray matter volume in the right precuneus. Moreover, the same region showed an association with the combined positive and negative emotional intensity and purpose in life scores. Our findings suggest that the precuneus mediates subjective happiness by integrating the emotional and cognitive components of happiness.
We investigated the moral stereotypes political liberals and conservatives have of themselves and each other. In reality, liberals endorse the individual-focused moral concerns of compassion and fairness more than conservatives do, and conservatives endorse the group-focused moral concerns of ingroup loyalty, respect for authorities and traditions, and physical/spiritual purity more than liberals do. 2,212 U.S. participants filled out the Moral Foundations Questionnaire with their own answers, or as a typical liberal or conservative would answer. Across the political spectrum, moral stereotypes about “typical” liberals and conservatives correctly reflected the direction of actual differences in foundation endorsement but exaggerated the magnitude of these differences. Contrary to common theories of stereotyping, the moral stereotypes were not simple underestimations of the political outgroup’s morality. Both liberals and conservatives exaggerated the ideological extremity of moral concerns for the ingroup as well as the outgroup. Liberals were least accurate about both groups.
Parasite stress and pathogen avoidance relate to distinct dimensions of political ideology across 30 nations
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published about 3 years ago
People who are more avoidant of pathogens are more politically conservative, as are nations with greater parasite stress. In the current research, we test two prominent hypotheses that have been proposed as explanations for these relationships. The first, which is an intragroup account, holds that these relationships between pathogens and politics are based on motivations to adhere to local norms, which are sometimes shaped by cultural evolution to have pathogen-neutralizing properties. The second, which is an intergroup account, holds that these same relationships are based on motivations to avoid contact with outgroups, who might pose greater infectious disease threats than ingroup members. Results from a study surveying 11,501 participants across 30 nations are more consistent with the intragroup account than with the intergroup account. National parasite stress relates to traditionalism (an aspect of conservatism especially related to adherence to group norms) but not to social dominance orientation (SDO; an aspect of conservatism especially related to endorsements of intergroup barriers and negativity toward ethnic and racial outgroups). Further, individual differences in pathogen-avoidance motives (i.e., disgust sensitivity) relate more strongly to traditionalism than to SDO within the 30 nations.
Purpose To examine the effects of subconcussive impacts resulting from a single season of youth (age range, 8-13 years) football on changes in specific white matter (WM) tracts as detected with diffusion-tensor imaging in the absence of clinically diagnosed concussions. Materials and Methods Head impact data were recorded by using the Head Impact Telemetry system and quantified as the combined-probability risk-weighted cumulative exposure (RWECP). Twenty-five male participants were evaluated for seasonal fractional anisotropy (FA) changes in specific WM tracts: the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF), inferior longitudinal fasciculus, and superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF). Fiber tracts were segmented into a central core and two fiber terminals. The relationship between seasonal FA change in the whole fiber, central core, and the fiber terminals with RWECP was also investigated. Linear regression analysis was conducted to determine the association between RWECP and change in fiber tract FA during the season. Results There were statistically significant linear relationships between RWEcp and decreased FA in the whole (R(2) = 0.433; P = .003), core (R(2) = 0.3649; P = .007), and terminals (R(2) = 0.5666; P < .001) of left IFOF. A trend toward statistical significance (P = .08) in right SLF was observed. A statistically significant correlation between decrease in FA of the right SLF terminal and RWECP was also observed (R(2) = 0.2893; P = .028). Conclusion This study found a statistically significant relationship between head impact exposure and change of FA fractional anisotropy value of whole, core, and terminals of left IFOF and right SLF's terminals where WM and gray matter intersect, in the absence of a clinically diagnosed concussion. (©) RSNA, 2016.
In the absence of salient sensory cues to guide behavior, animals must still execute sequences of motor actions in order to forage and explore. How such successive motor actions are coordinated to form global locomotion trajectories is unknown. We mapped the structure of larval zebrafish swim trajectories in homogeneous environments and found that trajectories were characterized by alternating sequences of repeated turns to the left and to the right. Using whole-brain light-sheet imaging, we identified activity relating to the behavior in specific neural populations that we termed the anterior rhombencephalic turning region (ARTR). ARTR perturbations biased swim direction and reduced the dependence of turn direction on turn history, indicating that the ARTR is part of a network generating the temporal correlations in turn direction. We also find suggestive evidence for ARTR mutual inhibition and ARTR projections to premotor neurons. Finally, simulations suggest the observed turn sequences may underlie efficient exploration of local environments.