Politics and Your Brain

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

Check out this brief but fascinating post from Posit Science, an incredible company working to help “people be at their best throughout their lives by providing brain training software clinically proven to improve cognitive performance.”  (You can read more about them here: http://www.positscience.com/about.)  Consider how understandings like these can alter interactions, in a formal diplomatic session or in an encounter at the grocery store.  Get thinking! :]

By Marghi Merzenich on December 13, 2010

According to scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, eye movement can teach you a lot more about politics than you might guess. These scientists studied how liberals and conservatives respond to “gaze cues,” and found dramatic differences. The short version: the liberals generally followed the cues, the conservatives did not. Read about the study here.

According to one of the authors, the study “basically provides one more piece of evidence that liberals and conservatives perceive the world, and process information taken in from that world, in different ways.”

Might such perceptual differences help explain the difficulty liberals and conservatives have in finding common ground, especially in Congress?

I welcome your thoughts!

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Possibly Related posts:

  1. A Brain that Keeps on Teaching: H.M.’s Story
  2. Men’s Brains vs. Women’s Brains: Social Implications of Neuroimaging (Part 1 of 2)
  3. When It Comes To The Brain, Size Doesn’t Matter
  4. Neanderthal Brains, Human Brains

The World on the World Wide Web

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

Get a grasp on global with the fascinating World Clock from Poodwaddle!  It estimates ever-changing numbers for farming to bicycles production to diseases up to the second.  Check it out: http://www.poodwaddle.com/worldclock.swf.

Also, this wonderful page provides another look at our world, bending space, size, and time: http://primaxstudio.com/stuff/scale_of_universe/.


Definition of Decorum

Dear DECORUM! Readers,
Check out this short piece from Gideon O. Burton of Brigham Young University (original link: http://rhetoric.byu.edu/encompassing%20terms/decorum.htm).  They nailed it!


P.S. I’m so sorry for the absence of posts lately–we have been crazy busy preparing for MUN conferences (look for a play-by-play diary from one later this month) and thus off the blog!  Apologies again.

to prepon
A central rhetorical principle requiring one’s words and subject matter be aptly fit to each other, to the circumstances and occasion (kairos), the audience, and the speaker. Though initially just one of several virtues of style (“aptum”), decorum has become a governing concept for all of rhetoric. Essentially, if one’s ideas are appropriately embodied and presented (thereby observing decorum), then one’s speech will be effective. Conversely, rhetorical vices are breaches of some sort of decorum.Decorum invokes a range of social, linguistic, aesthetic, and ethical proprieties for both the creators and critics of speech or writing. Each of these must be balanced against each other strategically in order to be successful in understanding or creating discourse. Besides being an overarching principle of moderation and aptness, decorum has been a controlling principle in correlating certain rhetorical genres or strategies to certain circumstances. Aristotle describes each of the branches of oratory as being appropriate to judicial, legislative, or epideictic occasions and to specific time periods (past, future, and present, respectively). The concept of stasis included a procedure for discovering and developing arguments appropriate to given circumstances. Cicero followed the principle of decorum in assigning an appropriate level of style to distinct rhetorical purposes. Throughout rhetoric, decorum structures the pedagogy and procedures of this discipline as much as it governs the overall uses of language.
Sources: Aristotle, Rhet. 3.*; Cic. De Or. 3.208