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The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation


The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation Cover

ISBN13: 9781586485733
ISBN10: 1586485733
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The Political Brain is a groundbreaking investigation into the role of emotion in determining the political life of the nation. For two decades Drew Westen, professor of psychology and psychiatry at Emory University, has explored a theory of the mind that differs substantially from the more "dispassionate" notions held by most cognitive psychologists, political scientists, and economists—and Democratic campaign strategists. The idea of the mind as a cool calculator that makes decisions by weighing the evidence bears no relation to how the brain actually works. When political candidates assume voters dispassionately make decisions based on "the issues," they lose. That's why only one Democrat has been re-elected to the presidency since Franklin Roosevelt—and only one Republican has failed in that quest.

In politics, when reason and emotion collide, emotion invariably wins. Elections are decided in the marketplace of emotions, a marketplace filled with values, images, analogies, moral sentiments, and moving oratory, in which logic plays only a supporting role. Westen shows, through a whistle-stop journey through the evolution of the passionate brain and a bravura tour through fifty years of American presidential and national elections, why campaigns succeed and fail. The evidence is overwhelming that three things determine how people vote, in this order: their feelings toward the parties and their principles, their feelings toward the candidates, and, if they haven't decided by then, their feelings toward the candidates' policy positions.

Westen turns conventional political analyses on their head, suggesting that the question for Democratic politics isn't so much about moving to the right or the left but about moving the electorate. He shows how it can be done through examples of what candidates have said—or could have said—in debates, speeches, and ads. Westen's discoveries could utterly transform electoral arithmetic, showing how a different view of the mind and brain leads to a different way of talking with voters about issues that have tied the tongues of Democrats for much of forty years—such as abortion, guns, taxes, and race. You can't change the structure of the brain. But you can change the way you appeal to it. And here's how…


This groundbreaking investigation by a renowned psychologist and neuroscientist proves it: We vote with our hearts, not our minds

About the Author

Drew Westen received his B.A. at Harvard, an M.A. in Social and Political Thought at the University of Sussex (England), and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at the University of Michigan, where he subsequently taught for six years. For several years he was Chief Psychologist at Cambridge Hospital and Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. He is a commentator on NPR's "All Things Considered" and lives in Atlanta.

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brazilvideo, October 25, 2008 (view all comments by brazilvideo)
This book concludes that Republican campaigns have unique characteristics: choice of themes by think tanks,absolute coordination of message,use of very specific words and not others,use of subliminal images and words,and tricky word associations.
In March 1982 Covert Action published an article based on 10 years of reseach into CIA propaganda techniques in Chile,Jamaica and Nicaragua which came to similar conclusions:"THe combined effects of word associations(derived from CIA funded semantic differential)with subliminal imbeds is so strong that it displaces any other message.
The real Urban Legend is not that subliminal messages work,but the opposite.The author and his team show endless experiments where subliminal ideas and images work and that Republicans regularly use them.
The most effective visual used by Bill Mahr is to show clips on the same day showing Fox News,Republicans,and right wing think tanks parroting exactly the same words.
Apart from the perfect coordination,why only these words? Because they have subliminal emotional associations.
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Product Details

The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation
Westen, Drew
Political Process - Elections
Cognitive Psychology
General Political Science
Politics - General
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
8.25 x 5.5 in 17 oz

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Cognitive Science
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Mood Disorders and Depression
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Politics
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Metaphysics » Magic Witchcraft and Paganism
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

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This groundbreaking investigation by a renowned psychologist and neuroscientist proves it: We vote with our hearts, not our minds
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