Anxiety & Depression highly correlated with Liberals, and Goal-Seeking with Conservatives

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    Apr 15, 2012 3:44 PM GMT
    C. Brack and X. Zhang

    Anxiety and depression would not seem to be specifically relevant to a particular individual's political affiliation. However, what should ostensibly be non-correlated variables have turned out to be highly correlated in our March 2005 survey. We found a statistically significant relationship (p < .0001) between anxiety, depression, and liberalism.

    Before we try to answer why, let's go over the data, and then review the curious relationship between anxiety and depression and some interesting variations in adaptive behaviors that conservatives, liberals, and moderates engage in.

    Anxiety is a generic term used to summarize a variety of psychological illnesses such as social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety syndrome, OCD, and other hyperphobic disorders. In this survey, we only were able to trap chronic generalized anxiety.

    Depression is a generic term used to summarize a variety of psychological illnesses such as major depressive disorder, dysthymia, bipolar disorder, cyclothemia, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and postpartum depression. We did not trap specific depressive disorders, except in the case of bipolar disorder.
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    Goal-Seeking and Multi-tasking by Political and Gender Cohorts

    As we see from the responses to the goal-seeking question in our survey: "If you play, you should play to win", we see an interesting variation in responses across political affiliation:

    This question is correlated with the psychological concept of "goal-seeking", but still only a proxy for that complex behavior. Still, we find statistically significant (p < .01) variations in our political cohorts, with the highest positive response rates among conservatives (72.7%), lowest among liberals (38.7%), and our moderates once again fall in between at (60.7%). If we look at the anxiety-depression breakdown by political cohort, we see an interesting impact on goal-seeking (Figure 5).

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    Offspring Entitlement by Political and Gender Cohorts

    We also find an interesting correlation between anxiety and offspring emtitlement. We asked the 1,390 participants of this survey if they "wanted to leave a lot of money to their kids when they die". This question is not very useful as an indicator of offspring entitlement, due primarily to the lack of controls for wealth and whether or not the subject had children. However, it is useful to examine the impacts of anxiety and depression on offspring entitlement. If we look at the breakdown by political and gender cohorts, Figure 8, we see liberals answering "yes" at 40.6%, moderates at 53.9%, and conservatives at 60.5%.

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    Language Comprehension by Political and Gender Cohorts

    If we examine the problems in language comprehension by political affiliation, Figure 10, we see the predicted elevation in problems with the liberal, 44.8%, relative to both the conservative, 37.4%, and moderate at 42.7%. Males tend to report higher language comprehension problems.

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    http://neuropolitics.org/Anxiety-Depression-and-Goal-Seeking-in-Conservatives-Liberals-Moderates.htm

    Article has discussion as to possible reasons for these correlations.
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:58 PM GMT
    Discussion

    The correlation between anxiety, depression, and liberalism poses several interesting questions. The first and most obvious is---why? In our previous research (1), we had detected a rightward bias in hemisphericity of the liberal as compared to the leftward bias in the conservative. There has been considerable research on the emotional attributes of the two hemispheres, and the right hemisphere has been implicated by many studies in negative emotions and depressive moods (2) (see Borod et al (3) for a more recent review of the research). Electroconvulsive therapy is more effective when applied to the right hemisphere than the left. (4)

    The right hemisphere has also been implicated in a variety of anxious illnesses, but the research is equivocal. Brain tumors in the right hemisphere have been identified in anxiety disorders by Mainio et a (5), whereas left hemispheric tumors seem to have little or no impact. Hughes et al (6) found a strong link between norepinephrine levels in urine during depressive and anxious episodes, further implicating the right hemisphere's noradrenergic bias in mood disorders. Wittling (7) proposes that the right hemisphere is dominant in modulating the sympathetic activity of the heart, regulating both strength and frequency of the heart beat. This is further evidence of a strong connection between the right hemisphere, anxiety, and the sympathetic nervous system.

    The correlation between anxiety, depression, and liberalism is not surprising given their common right hemispheric bias. Indeed, this correlation is further evidence of an elevated right hemispheric orientation of the liberal, when compared to the conservatives and moderates.

    Further, the strong correlation between goal-seeking and conservatism naturally raises the question of the role of dopamine, of which considerable evidence exists for mediating goal-seeking behavior. Tucker and Williamson (9) put forth the theory of an asymmetric distribution of dopamine and norepinephrine in the two hemispheres of the brain, with the left hemisphere organized around a dopaminergic activation system, and the right hemisphere organized around a noradrenergic activation system.

    The goal-seeking orientation of conservatives is consistent with a left hemispheric bias and corresponding bias towards dopaminergic behavioral attributes, which may also be related to the elevation in the conservative's binary reality-model preference noted by Brack and Zhang. Binary reality-models are conducive to goal-seeking, as they organize the analysis of stimuli into reward and punishment categorizations from which goal-seeking behavior can be mediated.

    The survival value of anxiety is obvious---it prepares the individual for potential threats. The survival value of depression is not that obvious, and a variety of theories, such as the Watson and Andrews "social navigation" hypothesis (10) proposes, among other things, that depression promotes niche changes when the current niche is restricting, thereby improving overall adaptability.

    We may have found evidence of a divergence in the types of survival approaches that conservatives and liberals engage in, and that divergence may be connected to the susceptibility of liberals to anxiety and depression. Liberals show a greater tendency for multi-tasking, which is also a trait of people reporting depression and chronic anxiety. In certain threatening conditions, a propensity towards multi-tasking would have a positive survival value over single-tasking.

    We see a strong elevation in goal-seeking behavior in the conservatives, which is an indication that conservatives may be more "active" in their immediate environments, at least when it comes to "rewarded" behaviors. We also found that chronic anxiety is also highly linked to goal-seeking and "rewarded" behaviors. Chronic anxiety may be the right hemisphere's answer to the left-hemisphere's propensity for goal-seeking. In other words, chronic anxiety may be a hyper-activation of the right hemisphere that promotes goal-seeking when the left hemisphere's dopaminergic system is not effective. However, the direction of causality is not clear, and an individual forced into "goal-seeking" might develop chronic-anxiety, rather than the other way around. However, a bidirectional causal relationship is also possible.

    Also noteworthy is the phenomenon of "offspring entitlement", or the desire to improve the survivability of offspring. Anxious and depressive subjects had a noted elevation in offspring entitlement when compared to normals.

    Liberals report elevated problems with language comprehension, but the impact of depression and anxiety on language comprehension is severe across all political cohorts. Depression and especially anxiety dramatically impair the ability to track and maintain focus during conversation. This is consistent with other research (11), and also consistent with the right hemisphere's general deficit for literal language processing. The survival value of this language impairment is simply in the redirection of mental resources from the conversation at hand, and to potential threats in the environment.

    The questions can now be asked: are conservatives and liberals complementary in their survival behaviors? Does a goal-seeking conservative fit in better with a non-goal seeking liberal? Does the single-tasking conservative fit better with the multi-tasking liberal? Does an optimal combination of conservatives, moderates, and liberals fill in the various socioeconomic niches better than all conservatives or all liberals or all moderates? Does society perform "better" with an optimal mix of conservatives, liberals and moderates? Obviously, these questions will not be easily or unequivocally answered.
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    Apr 15, 2012 3:59 PM GMT

    You're mad at Caslon, aren't you?
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    Apr 15, 2012 4:04 PM GMT
    meninlove said You're mad at Caslon, aren't you?

    Haha - not at all. I did try and suggest he should look at critiques of Mooney's work and not just blindly subscribe, and also differences in samples before attempting to relate to RJ discussions, but I think I was ignored. Besides, we've had several studies recently on how brilliant liberals are and how stupid conservatives are, thought this would offer some variety.
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    Apr 15, 2012 4:26 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidAnxiety & Depression highly correlated with Liberals, and Goal-Seeking with Conservatives

    Quite true!


    Considering your endless complaining topics and disgruntled outraged statements and swooping-in attacks on people, are you saying you're liberal?
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    Apr 15, 2012 4:37 PM GMT
    meninlove said
    southbeach1500 saidAnxiety & Depression highly correlated with Liberals, and Goal-Seeking with Conservatives

    Quite true!


    Considering your endless complaining topics and disgruntled outraged statements and swooping-in attacks on people, are you saying you're liberal?


    Well, he is a pilot so I guess that "swooping in" is very possible.
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    Apr 15, 2012 9:00 PM GMT
    from the study:

    "Liberals show a greater tendency for multi-tasking, which is also a trait of people reporting depression and chronic anxiety. In certain threatening conditions, a propensity towards multi-tasking would have a positive survival value over single-tasking."

    "We also found that chronic anxiety is also highly linked to goal-seeking and "rewarded" behaviors."

    the latter appears 2 counter the authors' findings, since "goal-seeking and 'rewarded' behaviors" r, in their view, the indicators of conservatives.
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    Apr 15, 2012 9:10 PM GMT
    tailgater_3 saidfrom the study:

    "Liberals show a greater tendency for multi-tasking, which is also a trait of people reporting depression and chronic anxiety. In certain threatening conditions, a propensity towards multi-tasking would have a positive survival value over single-tasking."

    "We also found that chronic anxiety is also highly linked to goal-seeking and "rewarded" behaviors."

    the latter appears 2 counter the authors' findings, since "goal-seeking and 'rewarded' behaviors" r, in their view, the indicators of conservatives.

    Interpret it as secondary relationships that motivate a degree of balance, but that is only my interpretation.
    "However, a bidirectional causal relationship is also possible."
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    Apr 15, 2012 9:18 PM GMT
    from another study by the same authors:

    "The Liberal cohort indicated an age-dependent improvement in language comprehension performance to rival or exceed the performance of the Conservatives in the Over 60 age cohort. Concurrent with this language comprehension improvement is a shift towards more organized and unambiguous reality models for the Liberals. This corresponds to the general decline in right hemispheric cognitive functions, which interfere more with visuospatial performance than language comprehension. It also points to a more left hemisphere influenced thinking style, which is more prone towards stronger Conservative and Religious beliefs. It also implies that an aging voting population will tend more towards Conservative and Religious agendas, all other environmental factors being equal." [emphasis added]
    [url]http://www.neuropolitics.org/Aging-Induced%20Conservatism%20and%20the%20Right%20Hemisphere%20Aging%20Hypothesis.htm[/url]
  • conservativej...

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    Apr 15, 2012 9:21 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    meninlove said You're mad at Caslon, aren't you?

    Haha - not at all. I did try and suggest he should look at critiques of Mooney's work and not just blindly subscribe, and also differences in samples before attempting to relate to RJ discussions, but I think I was ignored. Besides, we've had several studies recently on how brilliant liberals are and how stupid conservatives are, thought this would offer some variety.


    The real problem is trying to retire those goal-seeking traits. I have been able to "stand down" more in the last few years, but it is tough.
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    Apr 15, 2012 9:35 PM GMT
    tailgater_3 saidfrom another study by the same authors:

    "The Liberal cohort indicated an age-dependent improvement in language comprehension performance to rival or exceed the performance of the Conservatives in the Over 60 age cohort. Concurrent with this language comprehension improvement is a shift towards more organized and unambiguous reality models for the Liberals. This corresponds to the general decline in right hemispheric cognitive functions, which interfere more with visuospatial performance than language comprehension. It also points to a more left hemisphere influenced thinking style, which is more prone towards stronger Conservative and Religious beliefs. It also implies that an aging voting population will tend more towards Conservative and Religious agendas, all other environmental factors being equal." [emphasis added]
    [url]http://www.neuropolitics.org/Aging-Induced%20Conservatism%20and%20the%20Right%20Hemisphere%20Aging%20Hypothesis.htm[/url]

    Interesting. Thanks for bringing up. Doesn't seem inconsistent with what I notice as people age, getting more conservative. No experience on them getting more religious.
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    Apr 16, 2012 10:01 PM GMT
    I hope this is not meant to demean people.

    *I am a proud bleeding-heart liberal who has been diagnosed with clinical depression.
    *I have attempted suicide and have cut myself over 50 times.
    *I have been hospitalized four times for my illness.
    *I have been through hundreds of hours of counseling and tried 15 different medications.
    *I have even had electroconvulsive therapy.

    And I am not ashamed.

    I am also very caring and empathetic towards those who are suffering and those less fortunate. I am very creative. When my education is complete I hope to conduct research in biotechnology and biomedical engineering (stem cell research). I have been told by many people that I am extremely intelligent (though, I often dispute and suppress such compliments as I am also very humble but I will not do so for the purpose of this post.)

    I am proud of who I am illness and all.
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    Apr 16, 2012 10:10 PM GMT
    conscienti1984 saidI hope this is not meant to demean people.

    *I am a proud bleeding-heart liberal who has been diagnosed with clinical depression.
    *I have attempted suicide and have cut myself over 50 times.
    *I have been hospitalized four times for my illness.
    *I have been through hundreds of hours of counseling and tried 15 different medications.
    *I have even had electroconvulsive therapy.

    And I am not ashamed.

    I am also very caring and empathetic towards those who are suffering and those less fortunate. I am very creative. When my education is complete I hope to conduct research in biotechnology and biomedical engineering (stem cell research). I have been told by many people that I am extremely intelligent (though, I often dispute and suppress such compliments as I am also very humble but I will not do so for the purpose of this post.)

    I am proud of who I am illness and all.

    Really sorry to learn of the challenges you've been facing. Clinical depression is an illness, not a stigma.
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    Apr 16, 2012 10:10 PM GMT
    This thread made me crai.

    z33758883.gif
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    Apr 16, 2012 10:15 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH said
    socalfitness saidInteresting. Thanks for bringing up. Doesn't seem inconsistent with what I notice as people age, getting more conservative. No experience on them getting more religious.

    That's an idea that has such wide acceptance that it's conventional wisdom, that people get more conservative as they age.

    That is not my experience .My parents, in their 80s, and 90% of their friends, are still firebrand liberals. If anything, the events of the past 30 years have driven all of them leftward.

    Not me, of course. I started out this far left and I remain so.

    I know an elderly lady in my area who is a devout liberal. Always has been. She and her whole family are as well, but regardless they are very nice people. They are originally from NYC, so that could be a factor. In 2008, the family was a project of mine. Thought I was making good progress converting them to vote for McCain, but when Sarah Palin started speaking, they became a lost cause.
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    Apr 17, 2012 12:02 AM GMT
    socalfitness said
    JPtheBITCH said
    socalfitness saidInteresting. Thanks for bringing up. Doesn't seem inconsistent with what I notice as people age, getting more conservative. No experience on them getting more religious.

    That's an idea that has such wide acceptance that it's conventional wisdom, that people get more conservative as they age.

    That is not my experience .My parents, in their 80s, and 90% of their friends, are still firebrand liberals. If anything, the events of the past 30 years have driven all of them leftward.

    Not me, of course. I started out this far left and I remain so.

    I know an elderly lady in my area who is a devout liberal. Always has been. She and her whole family are as well, but regardless they are very nice people. They are originally from NYC, so that could be a factor. In 2008, the family was a project of mine. Thought I was making good progress converting them to vote for McCain, but when Sarah Palin started speaking, they became a lost cause.




    Oh JEEZ !! I wonder why that Liberal elderly couple would fall away from the idea of voting for McCain over Sarah Palin, could it be the relationship between Ms Palin and rediculous "BIRTHER" questions about Obama's birth conspiracy theories, as well as her backing "TBAGGER" anxiety about Obama not being 'like us"', or all those "TBAGGERS" yelling about giveaway government programs while most of them were on the Social Security dole ?

    SoCal, your hopelessly like Romney, rather clueless about everyday issues of everyday Americans and totally unable to understand and recognize how you embarass yourself when you put some of your arrogant bullshit in print.

    As Barnie on Mayberry would say, "your just a nut" !!
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    Feb 23, 2016 3:37 AM GMT
    Another view
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Feb 23, 2016 4:43 AM GMT
    socalfitness saidAnother view


    LOL. He bumped a 4 year old thread that never got started back-then.

    Fix it Jesus.