Why Politics Makes You So Angry
Kids in bed? Check. Email to the boss sent? Check. Laundry folded? Mostly. You grab your phone and plop on the couch for a few relaxing times on Facebook. But past the lovable kid pics and cooking videos, you see that a high school friend has posted one more political rant, and you totally afflict their opinion. rather than feeling relaxed, you’re feeling mad — really mad. Before you hit the comments together with your two cents, know that there’s science behind politics and anger, and also the discourse during election season can dial our stress levels up to 11.
Anger may want it comes out of nowhere, but it’s the result of a posh cascade of events within the brain. When our brain detects stress — like after we get upset reading a news article or watching a political debate. The hypothalamus tells our adrenal glands to pump stress hormones — cortisol and epinephrine — to organize our bodies to fight or run. These hormones make our hearts race, pressure levels increase, skin feel hot, and muscles tense.
Our brain tells our body we’re able to fight, and sometimes we do — whether or not that’s just with words. “When we’re in an exceedingly fight-flight mode, it feels specialized to name-call or hit below the belt,” Solomon says, “because our physiology is telling us we are threatened.”
The amygdala ensures we react quickly to danger, Solomon says, but it’s not great at distinguishing a true threat (being chased by an ax murderer) from an imaginary one (reading a tweet). It also can’t assess things fully.
Although it’s going to not always seem to be it, not everyone seems to be angry all the time about politics, says Jon Krosnick, Ph.D, a social psychologist, professor, and therefore the director of the Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford. “Fear and anger are forms of conjoined twins,” says Alison Dagnes, Ph.D, professor of government at the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and author of Super Mad at Everything All the Time: Political Media and Our National Anger.
People are often afraid that something they need is abstracted, she explains. In political psychology, it’s referred to as perceived deprivation. as an example, we may fear losing our reproductive freedoms or 2nd Amendment rights. That fear may transform anger toward politicians (and their supporters) we worry will deprive us. Frustration may additionally morph into anger, says Amber Spry, Ph.D., prof of politics and African & African-American studies at Brandeis University.