- Not Exactly Rocket Science
Political attitudes linked to startle reflexes
When we’re suddenly confronted with a shocking image, our skin becomes moist and we blink strongly. These actions are automatic and unintentional; they happen without conscious thought. So it may come as a surprise that they can also predict some of our most seemingly considered beliefs – our political attitudes.
According to a new American study, the stronger these responses, the more likely people are to support the Iraq War, Biblical truth, the Patriot Act and greater defence budgets. Conversely, people who show weaker “startle reflexes” are more likely to support foreign aid, immigration, gay marriage and abortion rights.
That responses so involuntary could be linked to views which we hold to be reasoned and considered is certainly surprising, but Oxley is