BOSTON (CBS) – Where would we be without scientific research that explains the dumb stuff we do – like getting into bitter fights over politics?
It seems a new study is confirming past research showing that we get upset when our political opinions are challenged because that excites the part of our brain that make you mad while suppressing the part that makes you want to get along.
In other words, when someone tells you your preferred candidate is a bum, your dorsomedial prefrontal cortex leaps into action while your orbitofrontal cortex wants a nap.
So what do those of us do who would prefer to get along with everyone regardless of political belief? One expert argues that you’ve got to try to defuse the situation.
For instance, if you favor abortion rights, when discussing that with someone who opposes them say something like “’I just don’t like the idea of the government telling a woman or a couple when they should or shouldn’t start their family.’
This changes the subject from touchy religious beliefs to the rights of the individual versus government, potentially more fertile ground for calm communication.
However, I find that strong political opinions are sometimes a stand in for something else that’s going on, having little to do with the topic at hand.
“I hate my uncle” becomes “I hate Trump,” or “my cousin is an idiot” is expressed as “lock her up!”
But perhaps the best advice of all comes from an etiquette expert who says “if you want to end a conversation before it gets heated, simply agree to disagree. You are not obligated to have these conversations.”
Listen to Jon’s commentary: