Love and Politics
Are political differences hurting your relationships? Learn to talk politics without pushing away the ones you love.
Spinning Your Wheels
Besides causing tension, trying to change the mind of a staunch Democrat or
Republican is probably fruitless. That's the view of Emory University
psychologist Drew Westen, PhD, author of The Political Brain: The Role of
Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. Using magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans, Westen and his colleagues found the
political arena is highly emotional for strong partisans.
"The data from our own brain scanning study suggest that you can't
reason with a strong partisan from the right or left, because the reasoning
circuits just don't turn on," Westen tells WebMD. "You're unlikely to
do anything but reinforce their view." People closer to the political
center are more open to alternate views, he adds.
So is there ever hope of changing a partner's political stance? "It's
worth the conversation," Westen says, if your partner is between the ages
of 18 and 30 and does not come from a strong partisan family. "There's a
window in young adulthood when people are open to change, particularly when
major events or inspiring political figures come along."