People With Extremist Views Are Less Able To Complete Complex Mental Tasks According To New Research

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People With Extremist Views Are Less Able To Complete Complex Mental Tasks According To New Research

According to new research carried out at the University of Cambridge, our brain structure may indicate how likely we are to support extremist political viewpoints. It also stated that those people who find complex tasks more difficult were much more likely to have extremist views.

The in-depth study involved 330 US-based participants aged 22 to 63 who were evaluated over a number of weeks with 37

neuropsychological tasks and 22 personality surveys.

The tasks were based on rudimentary tasks and not related to emotional or political reasoning. They included activities such as memorising visual shapes and numbers, as well as problem-solving.

Overall, the study found that the ability to complete such tasks was closely related to political ideas. Those who did less well on the tasks were far more likely to hold extremist nationalist, sectarian or xenophobic views, whereas those who were better at the tasks were more open-minded. Such projects in the future could help point out those likely to be radicalised and pose a threat to wider society.

Dr. Leor Zmigrod, a psychologist with the University of Cambridge, said of the study:

"Individuals or brains that struggle to process and plan complex action sequences may be more drawn to extreme ideologies, or authoritarian ideologies that simplify the world. For example, when they're asked to determine whether dots [as part of a neuropsychological task] are moving to the left or to the right, they just took longer to process that information and come to a decision. It's fascinating, because conservatism is almost a synonym for caution. We're seeing that – at the very basic neuropsychological level – individuals who are politically conservative … simply treat every stimuli that they encounter with caution. What we found is that demographics don't explain a whole lot; they only explain roughly 8% of the variance. Whereas, actually, when we incorporate these cognitive and personality assessments as well, suddenly, our capacity to explain the variance of these ideological world-views jumps to 30% or 40%."

The psychologist added that the research:

"Helps us understand what kind of individual might be willing to go in and commit violence against innocent others."

Of course, the study mostly highlights the likelihood of someone being directed towards right-wing extremism and did not indicate individuals who may be drawn towards left-wing extremism. This isn't the first study to indicate a link between the brain and political ideology. Previous studies have shown a close link between low-intelligence and extreme conservative ideology.

[h/t: The Guardian]

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Thinking Humanity: People With Extremist Views Are Less Able To Complete Complex Mental Tasks According To New Research
People With Extremist Views Are Less Able To Complete Complex Mental Tasks According To New Research
According to new research carried out at the University of Cambridge, our brain structure may indicate how likely we are to support extremist politica
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