Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1451867
 
 

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Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans


Darren M. Schreiber


University of Exeter; Department of Political Science

Alan N. Simmons


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christopher T. Dawes


University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science

Taru Flagan


affiliation not provided to SSRN

James H. Fowler


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Martin P. Paulus


affiliation not provided to SSRN

2009

APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper

Abstract:     
We matched public voter records to 54 subjects who performed a risk-taking task during functional imaging. We find that Democrats and Republicans had significantly different patterns of brain activation during processing of risky decisions. Amygdala activations, associated with externally directed reactions to risk, are stronger in Republicans, while insula activations, associated with internally directed reactions to affective perceptions, are stronger in Democrats. These results suggest an internal vs. external difference in evaluative process that illuminates and resolves a discrepancy in the existing literature. This process-based approach to political partisanship is distinct from the policy-based approach that has dominated research for at least the past half century. In fact, a two parameter model of partisanship based on amygdala and insula activations achieves better accuracy in predicting whether someone is a Democrat or a Republican than a well established model in political science based on parental socialization of party identification.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 15

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Date posted: August 13, 2009 ; Last revised: September 5, 2009

Suggested Citation

Schreiber, Darren M. and Simmons, Alan N. and Dawes, Christopher T. and Flagan, Taru and Fowler, James H. and Paulus, Martin P., Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1451867

Contact Information

Darren M. Schreiber (Contact Author)
University of Exeter ( email )
Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://politicsemerging.com
Department of Political Science ( email )
Nador utca 9
Budapest 1051
Hungary
HOME PAGE: http://politicsemerging.com
Alan N. Simmons
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Christopher T. Dawes
University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States
HOME PAGE: http://dss.ucsd.edu/~cdawes/
Taru Flagan
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
James H. Fowler
affiliation not provided to SSRN
No Address Available
Martin P. Paulus
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Feedback to SSRN


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