Tuesday, 20 April 2004

Political physiology

Tyler Cowen links a New York Times piece on how researchers are using MRIs to look at how voters’ brains react to political ads, and it’s a pretty fascinating piece. Though I must quibble with this graf:

“These new tools could help us someday be less reliant on clichés and unproven adages,” said Tom Freedman, a strategist in the 1996 Clinton campaign, later a White House aide and now a sponsor of the research. “They’ll help put a bit more science in political science.”

Dragging fancy machines into the room has nothing to do with whether or not you’re being scientific. Somehow people have this warped view that you can only do “science” when you’re dressed in a lab coat and goggles and there are a few bunsen burners in the room, which is simply not the case.