Of Trump and disgust

I wanted to write a post tying Donald Trump’s far too easily disgusted personality (Hillary Clinton uses the bathroom!) to some really interesting research on disgust and partisanship, but I got too lazy.  But now that Wonkblog has gone to the trouble, I will paste liberally, as this is really great stuff:

In fact, a growing mass of academic research has shown that conservatives have a particular revulsion to “disgusting” images…

Some of the recent research has been most pronounced evaluating the differing responses of conservatives and liberals to “disgusting” or “negative” images. Several studies have shown that conservatives are far more likely to have strong reactions to these images or situations than moderates or liberals are. [emphasis mine] Researchers have also suggested that conservatives are more likely to respond negatively to threats or be prone to believe conspiracies, perhaps helping explain why Trump’s calls to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States or build a wall at the southern border have resonated with many voters…

With a more than 90 percent success rate, the researchers were able to predict whether the participants were conservative or liberals based on how regions of their brains lit up while viewing the images. And it turned out that conservatives had a much stronger reaction to disgusting images than liberals. Reactions to other types of images were not predicted by political views.

“Disgusting images … generate neural responses that are highly predictive of political orientation,” the authors write. “Remarkably, brain responses to a single disgusting stimulus were sufficient to make accurate predictions about an individual subject’s political ideology.”

Actually, just the other day I was out with my two way-too-easily-disgusted sons and saying that I was worried they might end up Republicans because of this personality trait.  They are both plenty liberal now (especially so on environmental issues), but if they end up conservative, I will be blaming their heightened sense of disgust.

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Photo of the day

From the Telegraph’s pictures of the week:

A pair of walkers trek through deep snow so they can experience the force of a powerful waterfall up close. Huge amounts of water flow down the staircase of tiers at the Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland, a popular tourist attraction in the country. Visitors have been known to brave temperatures as cold as -30 degrees C for a glimpse of the natural phenomenon but rarely get as close as this couple. They are just tiny figures in the vast expanse of snow, water and rock which surround the waterfall where it turns sharply at 90 degrees.

A pair of walkers trek through deep snow so they can experience the force of the Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland. Visitors have been known to brave temperatures as cold as -30 degrees C for a glimpse of the natural phenomenon but rarely get as close as this couple.Picture: Larissa Sherwood/Solent News

Quick hits (part II)

1) Vox post on where Christmas trees come from.  Yes, Oregon leads the way, but we do pretty well here in NC.  In fact, I’m pretty much in the heart of NC Fraser Fir country.  Love driving by all the Christmas tree farms between my wife’s parents’ house and her grandmother’s house.

2) I’m not sure I ever disagree with Michael Specter.  Love this post on Climate change and nuclear power.

3) Really enjoyed this spoiler-heavy debate on whether Star Wars VII was too nostalgia-heavy.

4) Didn’t actually finish this whole piece on how Fox News brainwashes its viewers, but seemed to have some good stuff in there.

5) Allow me to culturally biased.  There’s something wrong with a culture (in this case Afghanistan) where it is seemingly okay for a mob to beat a woman to death for an imaginary crime.

6) Chait looks at five theories as to why Rubio isn’t winning, decides none of them are very good, and that Rubio will be winning before long.

7) Really enjoyed this Alan Sepinwall post in defense of the TV episode (even in serialized drama, there’s definitely something to be said for a well-crafted individual episode).

8) Anne-Marie Slaughter, always excellent on how we think about”work-life balance.”

9) Enjoyed this Vox post in defense of secular Christmas.

10) Totally disagree with Juliet Lapidos (from last year, but just came across it) that you should finish whatever book you started.  That’s horrible advice.  She far too simply elides the main reason not to:

The most common defense of book-dropping I hear is that because there are more good books than any one person could possibly read, it’s stupid to waste time on a dull or otherwise unsatisfactory novel. That argument makes sense if the novel is utter trash—if it’s so bad that the reader needn’t respect the author and would possibly get dumber by going forward.

But if a novel starts well and descends into trash, then it seems to me that it’s worth continuing to see if it gets better, or to see where the writer went wrong. And if it was bad from page one, then the whole “should I drop it?” issue is secondary. The best way to avoid wasting time on trash is to avoid trash entirely—i.e. to not start reading it. That shouldn’t be too hard. Skim a few book reviews, ask a few friends, flip through the first chapter before starting a novel in earnest.

When you do start a novel—in earnest—just finish it.

No!  Hello– opportunity cost!  Even if you argue that a book might get better.  There’s books that start great and stay that way.  Why spend you time on a book that might get good.

11) Enjoyed this Star Wars review from somebody who had never seen any Star Wars movies before.

12) Republicans really don’t want you to know who is spending money to influence elections.  This is no way to run a democracy.

13) A toddler I know has been climbing out of his crib and I mentioned a crib tent.  Apparently, they have been deemed too dangerous.  A little research led me to this Consumer Reports page where they were listed as dangerous items along with blankets and bumbos.  Maybe crib tents actually are dangerous, but I wouldn’t go by the judgement of CR when they say bath seats are dangerous simply because (obviously!!!) you don’t leave a baby alone in a bathtub.

14) I don’t know how I had missed this great Atlantic piece on the rise (and semi-fall) of the Red Delicious apple.  Not surprisingly, when you breed a fruit only for color and shelf life, taste suffers.  The wonder of it is that people kept buying them for so long (and still do!).

15) Gotta admit that I was surprised that half of all Americans live 18 miles or less from their mom.  I spent most of my adult life at least 250+ away.

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