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Why Do Politics Make Us So Angry?

Nothing gets people riled up like a political argument. Just what is it about politics that makes us so angry?
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Constituents of Political Cognition: Race, Party Politics, and the Alliance Detection System

“Research suggests that the mind contains a set of adaptations for detecting alliances: an alliance detection system, which monitors for, encodes, and stores alliance information and then modifies the activation of stored alliance categories according to how likely they will predict behavior within a particular social interaction. Previous studies have established the activation of this system when exposed to explicit competition or cooperation between individuals. In the current studies we examine if shared political opinions produce these same effects.”

The Physiological Differentiation between Fear and Anger in Humans

“Forty-three subjects were stimulated in the laboratory to “fear” and “anger,” during which the following physiological reactions were recorded: (1) heart rate, (2) ballistocardiogram, (3) respiration rate, (4) face temperature, (5) hand temperature, (6) skin conductance, and (7) integrated muscle potential. The scores used were the maximum rise and maximum fall from the preceding resting level and the number of responses of a critical value per unit time.”

What Your Anger May Be Hiding

“If to Freud all defense mechanisms exist to protect the personality from an intolerable attack of anxiety when the ego is under siege, it’s strange that he never considered anger as serving this pivotal psychological function. But to regard an essential human emotion as mainly designed to safeguard an individual from another, much more distressful emotion, is hardly a line of reasoning Freud might have been expected to follow.”

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