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The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics

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  • Posted March 17, 2010

    Progressive Political Posturing for Anyone!

    It is no shocker that fear mongering has become an all too acceptable part of our American Political system. Yet, as Lakoff explains in A Political Mind, the rousing emotions that scare tactics shoot for and have been so successful for conservatives in recent years can also be applied to progressive arguments, albeit without the element of fear.

    By explaining how our brain perceives arguments, especially those which we process unconsciously, Lakoff demonstrates that our political mind is part of our hard wired neurological system. Thus, in order to help realign American politics with the progressive policies envisioned by our Founding Fathers, it is suggested that more attention needs to be paid to the psychology, not mere rationality, of arguments.

    Most notably, Lakoff tackles the idea of framing and how something as simple as word choice can have a long last effect on the public's brains. While the idea is based on reversing the trend of old Enlightenment arguments within American politics, the notion of positive framing can be employed in almost any realm where one needs to get a point across in the face of adversity. An extremely useful point for those who often find themselves in contentious positions!

    An interesting and inspiring read that will have you questioning the political world unfolding in front of you. If given enough credit, the information in this book can yield not only critical thinking but critical doing as Lakoff outlines the roles that progressives need to start adopting in order to come down off the pedestal of Enlightenment and begin recognizing the reality of 21st century politics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2009

    Demonstrates how political speech works using research from cognitive and neurological science

    Obviously, Lakoff is a liberal. In this book he shows how conservatives in the US have used political speech, framing, symbols, narratives, metonymies, etc to move political thought to the right. He introduces a concept of new enlightenment wherein liberals rethink their strategy to use the same framing techniques as Cons but in ethical ways that enlighten the public.

    Lakoff shows how certain social narratives (like the hero who saves a victim from evil) work in favor of conservative framing. He shows how liberals might change frames rather than fall into conservative ones.

    Read this if you are interested in politics and want to know why some people believe in (and vote for) conservative ideas, even when those ideas work against them. You'll also learn some ways in which you can argue politics.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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