Obama Vs. Romney: Why Your Brain is Irrational About These Two Candidates

Obama Vs. Romney: Why Your Brain is Irrational About These Two CandidatesMost of us are already leaning to one presidential candidate or another, but the real question is which candidate — Barack Obama or Mitt Romney — is the most capable? Could it possibly come down to who has the deepest voice or which one is best coached on what is appropriate to say to a particular audience? One could easily parrot the words “who cares?” while missing an extremely valuable point in understanding how we humans process information. We may also be missing the point on how our emotions can override our rational brains and come to a conclusion that one could only label as being shallow.

I am personally glad to see this year’s presidential battle finally coming to an end. This simple fact is due to the decision that I made months ago about which man will get my vote — a decision from which I have no intention of being swayed. Once this election is over, the number of emails that I receive from some of my overzealous friends who want to change my mind about who to vote for will stop. These friends and acquaintances seem to think that they, and they alone, possess the wisdom to decide for everyone they know who should and who shouldn’t be elected.

One thing I realize after six plus decades on this planet is that, while many of us would like to believe that we elect our officials solely on their policies, there is an alternative theory that I believe makes more sense. That theory is that most of our elected officials are chosen for their appearance and the sound of their voice. To test this theory in your own mind, consider some of our previous political figures. Did you vote for John Edwards? How about Jimmy Carter? In your opinion, how did they live up to your expectations?

A real-life example of this type of decision can be seen in Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. This man has proven himself and I was fortunate enough to attend a concert at Missouri State University in August, where Governor Nixon and his wife were guests of honor. In fact, this event was of such note as to include John Goodman, a Missouri State alumnus, in the audience.

The event honored the 50th anniversary of the Tent Theater, a performing arts division of Missouri State University. I know that, while sitting in the audience while Governor Nixon made a brief speech about the celebration, I couldn’t help but be struck by his overall stature and the way that he presented himself. To me it was amazing how he was able to grab the audience’s attention and how easy it was to see the respect he commanded. The man is tall — over 6 feet — he was well-groomed, well-dressed, and had a low, resonant voice. For me, this was the first time I had seen the Governor in such a close forum; after having done so, it is no surprise to me that, though Missouri is a predominantly Republican state, this Democrat most likely will be re-elected as governor for a second term.

With this as a frame of reference, I was interested in an article that I read at Scientific American concerning how our brains process certain information regarding people. Some of the information was not surprising, such as the assumption that humans are influenced by another person’s tone of voice. It seems that those who speak in a higher-pitched voice are judged as being nervous and less truthful than those with lower-pitched voices. However, a person with a lower pitched voice who speaks slightly faster and slightly louder, with fewer pauses, will leave the audience feeling the person is more energetic, intelligent, and more knowledgeable.

In the article, the author referenced the first broadcast presidential race that was viewed on live television on September 26, 1960. The debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon was not presented in Technicolor, but in black and white. Upon reading the article, I recalled watching this debate with family members and, even at 12 years old, I immediately took to John F. Kennedy. To me it seemed that Kennedy came across as more energetic, thoughtful, and likeable, whereas Nixon appeared anemic — almost sickly — speaking in a quivering, high-pitched tone that made him appear unsure of himself.

I also know that my wife believes that a person’s eyes are a mirror to their soul. This can be a little nerve-racking since, if a person has gentle and kind-looking eyes, she is prone to trust them, whereas if their eyes are hard to read, she automatically distances herself from them.

So, I don’t know about what triggers your reactions; I can only hope that you are one of the people who can logically concentrate on a candidate’s policies, abilities, previous missteps, and the like. I also hope that you can look at the entire picture of what is happening at the time, who the person really is, and what they can do to better our country. I believe that the personality of the candidates may have an underlying effect, therefore, our decision on who we vote for may be determined by an emotional, rather than a political reason.

Comments welcome.

Source: Scientific American

CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by Cain and Todd Benson

Article Written by

I have been writing for LockerGnome since relocating to Missouri seven years ago, where I continue to be a technology enthusiast who enjoys playing with the newest and latest gadgets.

  • http://twitter.com/RobertVGilder Robert Van Gilder

    Well, I’m voting for Romney, and I’m probably always going to be voting for conservatives just because I dislike the government. It has never helped me before and it probably won’t help me in the future.

    • Joe

      Big govt is not going away without a third party or complete revolution of the system. Giving your vote to the meat head thugs who wear the cloak of conservatism, patriotism, capitalism does not help our world.

    • http://davidvkimball.com/ David V. Kimball

      Same here.

    • http://davidvkimball.com/ David V. Kimball

      Same here.

  • zandra

    I’m looking at the big picture and I’m on the side of truth, not just pandering so im voting obama. the picture presented by a republican presidency is honestly scary.

  • DerekWyland

    I was content for voting for Obama in September. But with the revelations of the lack of defense for the diplomatic mission in Benghazi (Which the State Department also represents the President) and the recent donor scandal that just broke out it just solidified me voting for Romney. I honestly hoped Obama would do well, but I just moved over. Even I had to move from Virginia to Texas to find work. Called up to some places where I used to live and asked them why they couldn’t hire and the fact of this election is why they won’t hire. I hate the current Democratic and Republican party, but I want to see no political parties and to see people actually vote on the candidate, not party affiliation.

  • pdh

    I would rather put red hot pokers in my eyes than vote for anybody who is determined to continue the destructive policies of this government, and there is essentially no difference between these candidates, as both of their histories will attest. Why should I even care what their speaking styles are? In fact, why should I even want to listen to them speak when it’s so obvious that neither of them can be trusted to do anything other than further the complete ruin of our once great nation? I can’t think of one single issue that they are speaking about that is important to me. It’s all absolute fluff. Obama has already proven, with the complicity and help of Congress, to be determined to complete the destruction of any freedoms that we once might have enjoyed in this country, any respect that we might have had in the rest of the world, and any chance at economic recovery, so let’s talk Romney. Just exactly what is different about anything that he’s talking about If he’s elected, do you envision the dismantling of the onerous TSA or the nazi-ish DHS? Will the spending curve of government slow to any appreciative extent? Will our foreign policies become less destructive? Even IF you could believe the things that he says the things that he’s talking about are just so much showmanship and no substance. I wouldn’t waste my vote on either one of these jokers, and it’s my contention that until America wakes up en masse and refuses to vote for either major party, we will absolutely continue down the same destructive road we’re on right now.

  • Alex

    I’m not voting for either of them. There is actually no difference between them in their policies or platform. A vote for either of them is a vote for the status quo. Voters do vote emotionally. They do not get the facts. They are strongly attracted to the physical impressions a politician leaves and the vast majority of voters are uninformed. It’s easier that way.

  • jesse garboden

    I’m Republican in an area who is mostly democratic. Sometimes I vote for the other party but at times. depending on what Bills have been passed I vote on the one who will help the most people. I believe Romney is the one who can do that. And hopefully move us into a better more prosperous society. And who who will stay with israel in there hard times they have been having. And I have decided Romney is the one who can do the job of protecting Israel from the rest of the world who wish to destroy it. I see Romney as a More of an authoritative figure than President Obama. But in the end I would rather have Ron Paul.for president he could of fixed the economy better than both of them combined.

  • Debs

    I will most definitely vote for Mitt Romney.

  • johnwerneken

    Stating Chris will not
    be changing his mind relieves me of any reason to try to guess at or to
    influence his decision. I am of the same opinion, I am more concerned about
    what works for most people than about equality equity fairness or anything
    similar, so I don’t care who the President wants to help, whether me or not me,
    the rich or the poor or the middle, only that he helps a controlling faction of
    the population, and I don’t care which faction that is. Now if both offer to do
    that and the differences are about who or what percentage of the totals is
    helped, THEN I will care about that.’

    My intuition is very
    very reliable at dealing with things whether familiar to me (politics, the
    economy) or not (sculpture). Intuitions mine or otherwise tend to have multiple
    concerns, like I have stated about mine; the rational thinking/talking to me
    plays to how to do it, and to how to serve to some extent more than one goal,
    not as to what ought to be done in general or by priority.

    So when it comes to candidates,
    my intuition knows which one serves my priorities and which one is more likely
    to translate preferences into reality. Rational thinking just is not something
    I want to waste my time doing in making these choices, only in collaborating
    with others (I’m better at word communication than at emotional communication)
    and as to getting something to work (for the same reason, which skills when it comes
    to dealing with others are strong with me).In making my own decisions, I refuse
    to think and instead revel in feelings.

    The TV shots of posture gesture and tone tell me all I need to
    know. Guess what, either my intuition and word-based thinking agree, or the
    feelings rule; either way, I get the same conclusion from watching in person or
    on TV as I do from reading about it. So I think the debates are fine, they go
    to whether the candidate is the sort to fit the hole in our personal puzzle
    that is for the President.

  • johnwerneken

    Stating Chris will not
    be changing his mind relieves me of any reason to try to guess at or to
    influence his decision. I am of the same opinion, I am more concerned about
    what works for most people than about equality equity fairness or anything
    similar, so I don’t care who the President wants to help, whether me or not me,
    the rich or the poor or the middle, only that he helps a controlling faction of
    the population, and I don’t care which faction that is. Now if both offer to do
    that and the differences are about who or what percentage of the totals is
    helped, THEN I will care about that.’

    My intuition is very
    very reliable at dealing with things whether familiar to me (politics, the
    economy) or not (sculpture). Intuitions mine or otherwise tend to have multiple
    concerns, like I have stated about mine; the rational thinking/talking to me
    plays to how to do it, and to how to serve to some extent more than one goal,
    not as to what ought to be done in general or by priority.

    So when it comes to candidates,
    my intuition knows which one serves my priorities and which one is more likely
    to translate preferences into reality. Rational thinking just is not something
    I want to waste my time doing in making these choices, only in collaborating
    with others (I’m better at word communication than at emotional communication)
    and as to getting something to work (for the same reason, which skills when it comes
    to dealing with others are strong with me).In making my own decisions, I refuse
    to think and instead revel in feelings.

    The TV shots of posture gesture and tone tell me all I need to
    know. Guess what, either my intuition and word-based thinking agree, or the
    feelings rule; either way, I get the same conclusion from watching in person or
    on TV as I do from reading about it. So I think the debates are fine, they go
    to whether the candidate is the sort to fit the hole in our personal puzzle
    that is for the President.

  • http://twitter.com/rini6 irene haralabatos

    I have not voted republican in decades. The party seems to run farther and farther away from my values. The candidate could be Peewee Herman for all I care if they are reasonable and a democrat, they have my vote.

  • Bill Bullock

    All I have to do is watch a point counter point with a Liberal and Conservative and my decision is obvious. I am perplexed by what I see out there and shocked at how easy it is to garner accepance of the flawed narrative

  • Bonnie

    I’m a life long Democrat and follow my conscience after much research and effort to wade through the hype. The party is not as important as choosing the right leader at the right time. Mitt Romney will get my vote.

  • http://mrcab666.livejournal.com/ MRCAB

    Will be voting Romney.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AlHaqq.net Umar AlFarooq

    Why is this drivel in Lockergnome? What does this have to do with technology? Way to ramble on without saying crap Ron.