Brains and Politics

June 2022 Forums General discussion Brains and Politics

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 47 total)
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  • #230199
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    “The results suggest that the biological and neurological roots of political behavior run much deeper than we previously thought.”

    https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/954644

    Researchers found that the brain signatures of people closely correlated with their politics. While this study did find a link between brain signatures and political ideology, it can’t explain what causes what.

    “What we don’t know is whether that brain signature is there because of the ideology that people choose or whether people’s ideology is caused by the signatures we found…”

    #230209
    ALB
    Keymaster

    “What we don’t know is whether that brain signature is there because of the ideology that people choose or whether people’s ideology is caused by the signatures we found…”

    That’s a commendably honest conclusion from the research results. So often researchers — and even more those who report their results — forget that correlation doesn’t mean causation and that, if A and B go together, conclude that either A caused B or that B caused A without offering a plausible way this could happen (and/or ignoring that some third factor could cause both).

    #230210
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    In a sense this would be entirely predictable, the areas of the brain they have looked at are largely influenced by the impact of attachment experiences.

    As these attachment experiences are largely based on our interactions with other human beings and how we develop views on those other human beings, our brain architecture will reflect this.

    To put it another way, because, to a large extent, our brain architecture is patterned by the events we experience, and the events that are most influential in the development of the brain are social experiences, it is therefore highly likely that our thoughts and views are very likely to conform with the understandings we have developed as a result of our experiences.

    Politics is largely about society, and our social views are based on our social experiences and that these social experiences are reflected on our brain architecture. It would not be any great leap to expect that our brain architecture would be closely related to our political viewpoints.

    The problem with the research report is that it misses this out and it could be implied that political opinions are somehow hard wired into our brains and that they cannot be changed.

    #230226

    The human brain is not wired. It has been proven by neuroanatomist and neurologists Richard snell is an authority on that and his book can be downloaded as a pdf and it is a textbook used by several school of medicine Most of our behaviors are learned from the external reality. https://med-mu.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Snell-Neuroanatomy-7th-Edition.pdf

    #230228

    Noam Chomsky has propagated the wrong idea that our brain is hardwired with language template Most scientists have rejected his thesis

    #230288
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    I suppose a different way (and simpler way of expressing it) is that people’s thinking is a reflection of their brains, in the smae way that teh speed a car can travel is a refelction of the car’s engine. The difference is is that a brain is impacted very much on what has happened to it before that point, a car engine might get slower by use, but it is unlikely to get quicker.

    Im terms of MS’s point, which is valid, we also need to be careful about the pure behaviourist (Skinnerist) assumption that all behaviour is learnt. It clearly isn’t. For instance, following birth, we didn’t learn to breathe by trial and error. If that was true there would be a lot less of us.

    #230295
    LBird
    Participant

    Bijou Drains wrote: “…we also need to be careful about the pure behaviourist (Skinnerist) assumption that all behaviour is learnt. It clearly isn’t. For instance, following birth, we didn’t learn to breathe by trial and error.”

    We have to conceptually separate ‘biological behaviour’ from ‘social behaviour’.

    Since ‘biology’ (eg. breathing) is fixed, we have no choice, so it’s not a ‘behaviour’.

    ‘Behaviour’ is always social, so it is a socio-historical product, and so we can change it.

    One’s definitions and assumptions will determine one’s views.

    #230298
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    Since ‘biology’ (eg. breathing) is fixed, we have no choice, so it’s not a ‘behaviour’

    Any behaviour that is fixed, is not a behviour?

    Apart from the obvious comment that breathing is not fixed, we can stop and we can choose how we breathe (we can chose to breathe heavily or shallowly, we can chose to breath through our mouths or through our noses), such a definition has other problems.

    According to your definition, a new born infant has a suckling impulse, presumably this is not a behaviour?

    Jumping away from something hot often happens involventarily, is this too not a behavoiur.

    In terms of the sub consious mind, many things we do is not consviously chosen, does this not deserve the catogory behaviour.

    Is all behaviour social? This implies that anything you do on your own is not behaviour. Does not mean that mean that masturbation is not a behaviuor (assuming of course you do it on your own)?

    As to Skinner, I often surprised that a number of Socialist hold him in some degree of esteem, considering some of his opinions, for example:

    “It is a mistake to suppose that the whole issue is how to free man. The issue is to improve the way in which he is controlled.”

    #230299
    LBird
    Participant

    As I’ve said, BD, the concept of ‘behaviour’ depends upon one’s definitions and assumptions.

    For example ‘how one breathes’ is entirely different to ‘breathing’ as an involuntary reflex.

    Again, ‘impulse’ is not ‘behaviour; ‘involuntary’ is not behaviour.

    Furthermore, ‘masturbation’ is a social behaviour, not biological individual involuntary impulse.

    Lastly, Marxists are not Skinnerists, because ‘the whole issue is how to free [hu]man[ity]’.

    If you wish to define ‘behaviour’ as ‘any action or movement’, that’s fair enough, but you should specify it as that. It wouldn’t be a definition that I would share. I would define ‘behaviour’ as ‘conscious human action’, because unconscious activity is a product of a society that pretends that ‘individuals’ are the location of ‘behaviour’, rather than the socio-historical conditions being the location of ‘behaviour’.

    ‘Unconscious individuals’ are socially produced, and we can change that.

    Of course, at the root of my definitions and assumptions are democracy, Marx’s social productionism, and our ability to change our world.

    I suspect that those who want ‘any action or movement’ to be the defining characteristic of ‘behaviour’ are not interested in those three assumptions.

    Which is fair enough, but then they should outline their ideological beliefs – Individualism? Fixity? Matter? A supposedly asocial and ahistorical ‘Science’?

    On the contrary, I would stress – society, change, human production, and ‘science’ as a socio-historically changing product. Marx’s concerns, too, in fact.

    #230301
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    So an infant smiling at its mother is not a behaviour?

    #230319
    LBird
    Participant

    Bijou Drains wrote: “So an infant smiling at its mother is not a behaviour?”

    Is it social? Does it require only a single biological individual, or a relationship between humans?

    Does the smile ever change? Is it fixed, so that the infant smiles whatever the socio-historic developments involving it?

    Is it a social product of the mother’s learned socio-historic growth?

    Is BD a secret Skinnerist? Or is BD unaware of their own ideology?

    I, ironically, won’t hold my breath, heavy or shallow, for a Marxist-inspired answer!

    #230321
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    Not for the first time, you have tried to muddy the waters; I will resist your fatuous attempts to be insulting.

    I will clarify the question for you. When a baby smiles to its mother for the first time, is that a behaviour (as in your definition of a behaviour it is a conscious human action). Here’s a clue, the smile is clearly not a conditioned response.

    I will also ask you another question, is a person who has Tourette’s syndrome, who lets out a loud barking noise on regular occasions, displaying behaviour?

    #230326
    LBird
    Participant

    ‘Fatuous’?

    Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

    #230328
    LBird
    Participant

    Since Bijou Drains seems to be fascinated by movement in biological individuals, I’ve another question for him to ask…

    “I will also ask you another question, is a person who has growing toenails, displaying behaviour?”

    #230339
    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    And Ladies and Gentleman, this year’s 2022 Boris Johnson Award for “never answering a straight question” goes to……. drum roll….

    Yes it’s L Bird!!!!

    L Bird speaks – “thank you, thank you, your applause is warm and generous. First I’d like to thank my imaginary chum Karl Marx, he is so helpful to me in my hard work, the fact that in my mind he always says what ever I make up about him is really the bed rock to my fantastical personal little world.

    This is a great honour to me, I hope that your can trust me to make sure I don’t ever answer a straight question”

    Audience – “We trust you L Bird, honestly we really trust you”

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