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Cary Brunswick

June 13, 2009

Don't bug me about being liberal

Who would have thought my boyhood fascination and handling of toads, frogs and other amphibians would predetermine my so-called liberal beliefs later in life?

Some recent studies allegedly show just that.

It's no longer a well-kept secret that there are studies out there to explain and justify just about anything. Want to drink coffee? You can find reports that will say it's good for you. Wanna stop? Some studies say it'll kill you. Take your pick.

And over the years, we've been hearing about such ridiculous research being conducted that it often seems to discredit academic pursuits _ especially when government funding is involved.

You've probably heard about some examples. Surely such topics as Sex and the Single Mayfly, or The Existential Amoeba would not be too far-out to imagine.

News releases about one study or another have crowded my mailbox (nowadays, it's my inbox) for decades. Just last week, I received a release from Cornell University about a study by researchers there that poses a connection between one's ability to deal with slimy and gory things and one's political bent.

Apparently, there's a Disgust Sensitivity Scale, known as DSS, that, according to researchers, allows them to evaluate how disgusted someone gets in response to a variety of scenarios. Those reactions are then linked to one's place on a political ideology scale.

The study, published in the journal Cognition & Emotion, was completed by Cornell professor David Pizarro and co-authors Yoel Inbar of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and Paul Bloom of Yale University. They surveyed 181 U.S. adults from politically mixed "swing states."

In the news release, they ask: Are you someone who squirms when confronted with slime, shudders at stickiness or gets grossed out by gore? Do crawly insects make you cringe or dead bodies make you blanch?

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Cary Brunswick

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