Politics and politicians often create a collective shrug in society. But with the global financial crisis striking on the eve of the U.S. presidential election, many Americans are paying more attention to the politics than ever before. Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama, and their running mates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, have been forced to speak out about the banking debacle and the housing crisis when they might prefer to talk about their records or health care or global political situations. We look at the psychology, sociology and economics of today's political climate.
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Latest Articles

Hey, Tom Coburn: Why 'Wasteful' Science Is Important
Angus calf in a pasture
December 18th, 2013
An annual report on allegedly wasteful government spending gets the science wrong.
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Conservatives & Liberals Equally Smug, Study Finds
An overwhelming majority of Americans think our nation would be better off if small business had greater power and influence in Washington, D.C., a new survey shows.
October 8th, 2013
Conservatives and liberals are equally likely to feel that their beliefs are superior to others, suggesting that holding extreme views leads to smugness regardless of what those views are. The findings could have implications for congressional gridlock.
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Liberals & Conservatives Literally Moving Farther Apart
Gated community and homes
December 11th, 2013
Americans feel like they belong when their neighbors vote the same way they do, a tendency that appears to be driving the formation of red and blue enclaves around the country.
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A Weighty Issue: Chris Christie and Obesity in Politics
November 7th, 2013
While political pundits debate whether a candidate's girth is an election-day liability, science has weighed in with a surprising find: Politicians who are overweight are perceived as more reliable, honest and inspiring — but only if they're male.
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Gov't Shutdown Science: Why Human Nature Is to Blame
The U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.
October 2nd, 2013
The failure of Congress to reach the agreement needed to avoid a government shutdown today can, in some ways, be seen as human nature, resulting from the way people act when they form groups, psychologists and sociologists say.
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Science & Culture: Is Brain Project the Apollo of Our Time?
an illustration of human brain cells
August 20th, 2013
In its size and scope, Obama's brain-mapping project could claim a place in human culture on par with previous landmarks, like the moon landings and the Human Genome Project, experts say.
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Computer Scientist Andrea Johnson: Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Andrea Johnson, computer science, plain language, voting, elections , voter access
December 3rd, 2013
Andrea Johnson, who works on Prime III, an electronic system designed to improve voting accessibility, discusses her passion for her field.
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Beyond the Environment, America's Representative Democracy at Risk (Op-Ed)
Tenaya Lake
October 17th, 2013
Can the U.S. protect its environmental health without a truly representative republic?
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Do Facts Matter Anymore in Public Policy? (Op-Ed)
illustration of pathological liar and honest person
September 13th, 2013
Even the laws of mathematics seem to be beholden to one's political views.
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