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Transcript: Neuropolitics-- Brain Studies That Differentiate Political Party Preference

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Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio

I interviewed Darren Schreiber on February 23 rd .  This is part one of a two part interview. Here's a link to the audio podcast.

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Thanks to Don Caldarazzo   for doing the transcript.

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Eric Schreiber Bio:

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Darren   Schreiber 's research centers on emergence and complexity in political systems. He studied Politics, Philosophy, and Economics as an undergraduate at Claremont McKenna College.  After college he attended UC Davis School of Law, where he focused on civil rights litigation and had his first federal jury trial at age 23.  He then specialized in federal litigation at the 100 year-old law firm of Neumiller and Beardslee.  Unsatisfied with the intellectual life of a lawyer,  Darren  moved to academia.  While earning his Ph.D. in Political Science at UCLA,  Darren  developed an agent-based computer simulation of the formation and dynamics of political parties.  He has pioneered the subfield of neuropolitics with the first use of functional brain imaging (fMRI) to study the neural foundations of politics.  His first book, Your Brain is Built for Politics , synthesizes a decade of research and develops novel insights into political sophistication, partisanship, racism, and voting behavior using neuroscience tools such as functional imaging and neural network models.  His long-term objective is to integrate his agent-based models of macro political dynamics with his computational model of political cognition in individuals in order to illuminate the emergence of political ideology in mass publics.   Darren  is currently a visiting researcher at Central European University and a lecturer at University of Exeter.  Prior to his move to Europe he taught at UCSD and served as Research Director at the Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research at Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania. 

by Eric schreiber

Rob Kall:   And welcome to the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show, WNJC 1360 A.M, reaching metro Philly and South Jersey, sponsored by .  My guest tonight is Darren Schreiber.  He is a Neuropolitics researcher. He's affiliated with the department pf Political Science University of of San Diego, but I'm not talking to you there, now.

Darren Schreiber:   Now, I'm in Budapest, Hungary actually.

Rob Kall: .  Cool!  You've just recently published a very interesting article, and it is just the tip of the iceberg of your interests, and where you're going, and what you're into, so I'm not sure where to begin.  You've got such a wealth of ideas and material here.  You've got a book coming out, and that /

Darren Schreiber:   Yeah, the book is entitled Y our Brain Is Built for Politics.

Rob Kall:   Your Brain is built for Politics; yes.  That is based on the idea that the brain evolved to deal with politics.  Now, how did that work when people were living in bands and tribes and sitting around a fire?  There were no National Parties. What do you mean by that?

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Darren Schreiber:   What I mean by politics specifically is what I call "Coalitional Cognition," and that means "Thinking about us or them." So humans, one of the interesting things about us is that we can change our group membership all the time, and we do.  When we're in the office, we're in one group, but we're maybe part of "I'm a male" in the office, but I'm also "Part of the faculty, instead of being a student."  We have lots and lots of different coalitions that we're members of simultaneously, and it seems that you need a really huge brain if you're going to manage being a member of a lot of different coalitions and navigating all of the different memberships simultaneously, which is what we have to do as humans.

r  Now I wanted to kind of stay with that indigenous, tribal picture there, though.  What are the coalitions there?  Have you looked at it from an anthropological point of view?

Darren Schreiber:   I haven't as much in my own research, but I've read a lot of the people who have, and what they find is across species; so not only early humans, but in dolphins.  In fact, there's a story in the news today in my former home, San Diego: there was a giant superpod of dolphins spotted in the ocean today, and this superpod is a collection of lots and lots of smaller pods of dolphins.  Dolphins, like humans, have coalitions that are changing in dynamic and at multiple levels.  So A couple of dolphins will go hunting together today, but another pair might go hunting tomorrow; and they not only hunt in pairs or in small groups, but even in larger groups, and even in these superpods they can get together for bigger forms of sociality.  What we share in common with dolphins is changing coalitions. 

So if we were humans, we would maybe go hunting with a friend for some rabbits tomorrow, ad if we're going to go in a really big group, we need to get a lot of people together to go hunting an elephant.  And if we're going to live in a village to protect ourselves from other villages or other tribes that might be out there against us, we ally in villages and in tribes and in ever larger organizations; and then we're members of all of those simultaneously and in different ways, and even in different times, we change alliances within groups.  And that's true for humans, for chimpanzees, for dolphins, for hyenas; all of these animals that I call "Political Animals."  So it's not just humans, but many other political animals.

In contrast: ants?  If you're an Argentinian ant in San Diego, you are going to remember that Argentinian ant coalition for the rest of your life, and that never changes.  And all the other ants can tell by the sounds that you give off.

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Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.

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Rob Kall's Bottom Up Radio Show: Over 200 podcasts are archived for downloading here, or can be accessed from iTunes. Rob is also published regularly on the

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