A recent study came out which you can read here. Basically, the recent brain-imaging study shows that our political predilections are a product of unconscious confirmation bias. In other words, we first come up with an opinion (for example, being Democrat or Republican) and then we try to find evidence for the already existing belief. Here’s the quote from the article:
During the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, while undergoing an fMRI bran scan, 30 men–half self-described as “strong” Republicans and half as “strong” Democrats–were tasked with assessing statements by both George W. Bush and John Kerry in which the candidates clearly contradicted themselves. Not surprisingly, in their assessments Republican subjects were as critical of Kerry as Democratic subjects were of Bush, yet both let their own candidate off the hook.
Indeed, the part of the brain that lights up has nothing to do with rationality and instead deals with emotions. So we are political animals not because of some rational argument, but because of some emotional connection.
So what do we do? What does the article recommend? Interestingly enough, it recommends politicians having a peer-review system where politicians check up on each other and perhaps even make opposite cases. Seems like skepticism gets away from this confirmation bias.