Trump’s Victory and the Neuroscience of Rage

Pollsters, politicians, much of the press and public are dismayed by Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the presidential election, but not neuroscientists. The bewilderment arises from an attempt to comprehend the election result rationally, but rage, not reason, is what drove people to put Trump in the White House. Emotions are powerful motivators of behavior. For most animals, emotion, not rational thought is what drives behavior, and this remains true for our esteemed species, self-christened as Homo sapiens—“the wise one.” But our decisions are not made solely by reasoning. In fact, in the most complex and momentous decisions we make we rely on emotion—gut feelings. Whom to marry, where to live, or even what entrée to select from a dinner menu, are decisions we make not by reason, but rather…


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