Good news for political junkies! Even when the debates seem mind-numbing, it appears that following politics can be good for your mind.
From Live Science:
If you’re paying attention to the current presidential campaign, you’re also doing your brain a favor regardless of whether you favor Clinton, McCain or Obama, says one neuroscientist.
The brain has hard-wired systems that control attention and learning in processes that motivate us, including hunger, sex drive and social involvement. An interest in politics can stimulate these systems in the brain, says neuro-pharmacologist John D. Roache of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
“As we listen to the candidates and think about what is being said, the brain processes the information, which grows neural connections and increases the neurochemical signaling that is associated with learning and memory,” Roache said.
Obviously, those researchers hadn’t seen tonight’s Clinton-Obama debate.
But the study does seem to bring up a good question. Is it just me, or do people who are interested in politics (from either side) seem a little bit sharper than those who are completely disengaged?
Or do I have some kind of built-in bias against those who reflexively and cynically state: “It doesn’t matter. They’re all the same.”