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During the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, while undergoing an fMRI bran scan, 30 men--half self-described as "strong" Republicans and half as "strong" Democrats--were tasked with assessing statements by both George W. Bush and John Kerry in which the candidates clearly contradicted themselves. Not surprisingly, in their assessments Republican subjects were as critical of Kerry as Democratic subjects were of Bush, yet both let their own candidate off the hook.
The neuroimaging results, however, revealed that the part of the brain most associated with reasoning--the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex--was quiescent. Most active were the orbital frontal cortex, which is involved in the processing of emotions; the anterior cingulate, which is associated with conflict resolution; the posterior cingulate, which is concerned with making judgments about moral accountability; and--once subjects had arrived at a conclusion that made them emotionally comfortable--the ventral striatum, which is related to reward and pleasure.
"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," Westen is quoted as saying in an Emory University press release. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up, including circuits hypothesized to be involved in regulating emotion, and circuits known to be involved in resolving conflicts." Interestingly, neural circuits engaged in rewarding selective behaviors were activated. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones," Westen said. www.scientificamerican.com...
Politics is one arena where the outcomes of ingroups and outgroups may be so closely linked that an ingroup member might appraise an outgroup setback as directly benefiting the ingroup. Politics is often a kind of ‘‘blood sport” in which party affiliation and partisan instincts carry the day more often than bipartisan sentiments. In the context of a political campaign, particularly as election night approaches, all events (misfortunes or otherwise) may largely become appreciated for their implications for victory or defeat of one’s own party (especially for those who strongly identify with their party) – even though there may be otherwise negative, undeserved consequences for others. For example, a downturn in the economy would seem to have no positive effects for anyone, and yet for partisans rooting for their challenger to defeat an incumbent President, it might be good news indeed. Bad news for the political leader of the outgroup is good news for one’s ingroup. This should especially hold true if the opponent is an incumbent and thus is attributed a certain amount of responsibility for the state of the economy. The ‘‘objective” negative features of the event, whether it is an economic downturn, missing explosives in Iraq (McIntyre, Malveaux, Labott, & Neisloss, 2004), or a national shortage of flu-shots (Sanger & Harris, 2004) may be beside the point, politically. Even if an outcome may be objectively negative for all involved, including the individual, there are times when such an outcome may signal a potential political windfall for that individual’s group looking to gain an advantage – and, thus, produce schadenfreude. psychology.as.uky.edu...
Mike Mariani, published September 5, 2016 - last reviewed on November 16, 2017
Look at Me Research is beginning to suggest a correlation between the heavy use of social media platforms and the Dark Triad—a cluster of personality traits that includes psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and narcissism. These traits have existed independent of selfies and status updates for centuries and proving any sort of causal connection remains elusive, but it seems possible that some relationship exists.
It’s important to note, however, that while studies have linked time spent on social networking sites with the dark traits, these personality types are certainly not the only predictors of heavy social media use. Other studies have found that extroversion and openness to experience were also associated with time spent on social media platforms.
Nevertheless, W. Keith Campbell, a psychologist at the University of Georgia, notes that social media have created a great environment for self-obsession to thrive. Although society in general doesn’t condone an individual who is laser-focused on his own appearance, opinions, and achievements, social media platforms are perfect hotbeds for the self-absorbed.
In one study, researchers found that the more socially aversive characteristics subjects possessed, the more time they spent on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Another study, carried out in 2013 by researchers at the University of Michigan, found that tweeting was moderately associated with a sense of superiority, while posting on Facebook corresponded with exhibitionism.