(ORDO NEWS) — Using the example of people holding different political views, American researchers have found out what biological mechanisms are behind the phenomenon of different attitudes to the same information.
Previous studies have shown that the polarization of opinions among people who have different political views is associated with the selective consumption of one or another information – news, posts on social networks.
Scientists from Brown University (USA) decided to study this issue in more detail and put forward a hypothesis that the reasons for the polarization of opinions may lie deeper.
Using functional MRI, scientists assessed the level of neural synchrony – coordinated brain responses – in 44 participants in the experiment, some of whom identified themselves as liberals, and the rest as conservatives.
First, the participants completed a task of reading words, among which were, for example, “immigration” or “abortion”.
After that, the researchers asked the subjects to determine whether they considered a particular word “politically charged.”
Participants then watched news stories in which the host neutrally reported on the same abortions or heated debates over immigration.
During the experiment, the researchers measured the brain activity of the volunteers.
One of the methods of scientists was the so-called analysis of the similarity of representations: when a person sees a simple and static image – for example, this or that word – his brain will represent this word with a certain activity.
It’s like a fingerprint, only neural, which encodes information in the brain.
Analyzing the data obtained, the scientists found that the “neural imprints” of the brains of people with the same political views are similar to each other and, on the contrary, differ among political opponents.
Thus, the scientists concluded that the perception of neutrally presented information in such people differs initially, even if they receive the same data.
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