The Republican Brain

  • by Chris Mooney
  • Narrated by William Hughes
  • 10 hrs and 53 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Chris Mooney uses cutting-edge research to explain the psychology behind why today’s Republicans reject reality - it’s just part of who they are. From climate change to evolution, the rejection of mainstream science among Republicans is growing, as is the denial of expert consensus on the economy, American history, foreign policy, and much more.
Why won’t Republicans accept things that most experts agree on? Why are they constantly fighting against the facts? Science writer Chris Mooney explores brain scans, polls, and psychology experiments to explain why conservatives today believe more wrong things, appear more likely than Democrats to oppose new ideas and less likely to change their beliefs in the face of new facts, and sometimes respond to compelling evidence by doubling down on their current beliefs.
Certain to spark discussion and debate, The Republican Brain also promises to add to the lengthy list of persuasive scientific findings that Republicans reject and deny.
Chris Mooney is the best-selling author of The Republican War on Science, the host of the Point of Inquiry podcast, and the author of The Intersection blog for Science Progress. He has written several books, as well as articles for Mother Jones, American Prospect, Harper’s, Washington Post, USA Today, and Slate. He has appeared on The Last Word, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Book TV, Science Friday, Morning Joe, and Fresh Air, among other programs.


What the Critics Say

“Mooney has bravely tackled a gigantic and complex topic.” (The Washington Post on The Republican War on Science)
"Nothing short of a landmark in contemporary political reporting.” (Salon on The Republican War on Science)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An Evenhanded Analysis of Both Sides of the Aisle

Would you consider the audio edition of The Republican Brain to be better than the print version?

I am always a fan of books in print, but this is a good one to read in the car. Personally, I tend to pick non-fiction books apart, so it takes forever for me to read them. I was glad to have this in audio format if only for the benefit of getting through it quickly and not being so nitpicky.

Have you listened to any of William Hughes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Never heard any of William Hughes' books before, but he was very good. I enjoyed listening to him.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It was definitely hard to turn it off, but it is so long that it would be hard to find that much time all at once.

Any additional comments?

Please disregard any reviews that claim this book is biased. I would question whether that person had even read the book, since the author clearly tries to understand the psychology of why BOTH parties think and act the way they do. Mooney does a great job of showing the differences between the parties and noting how each party adds value to our country. It is not a question of intelligence or morality. He makes no claim that Republicans are idiots or crazy, as one reviewer on this site interprets this book. He simply explains that conservatives and liberals are wired differently.

I think this topic is extremely important - it is something that has always frustrated me as a liberal. I know many conservatives who I consider to be smart and genuinely good people. How then can they be so wrong when it comes to scientific fact?

This book's premise is that humans, in general, are hardwired to respond emotionally at first and then justify that response using facts. Everyone does this, regardless of political affiliation. The primary difference between conservatives and liberals is their level of openness - liberals tend to be very open to change and new ideas, where conservatives tend to be more closed, valuing tradition and hierarchy. Liberals, therefore, are more apt to change their minds when presented with facts and data consistently over time. Conservatives, however, react in just the opposite way - sometimes they will even cling harder to previously held beliefs when presented with opposing data. Understanding why this happens is crucial in determining how we communicate. I hope that people who read this book will not only come away with a better understanding of how the two parties think, but also start considering ways that we can work together toward common goals.

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- Thomas

Interesting and persuasive

I was a bit skeptical coming into this book, thinking it would be little more than a partisan rant, but it was actually more fair-minded than I expected. I may be biased because I'm liberal, but I found the evidence pretty convincing that misinformation is a bigger problem on the right than it is on the left, and that this asymmetry can be traced to specific personality traits and cognitive styles pinned down by psychology and neuroscience experiments. I found this evidence pretty disheartening, as it suggests little hope for future bipartisanship, but it is important information that needs to be disseminated (even though conservatives will find a way to dismiss it). If you've ever wondered why liberals and conservatives can't get along, this book is for you. If you suspect that the right is more full of it than the left and are looking for evidence, this book is for you. If you're conservative, you will probably hate it and find a way to dismiss every word of it. If you're on open-minded conservative, you'll probably still hate it, but you might learn a few things.
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- David

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-10-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.