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Left brain, right brain

Brain and behaviour research is increasingly being incorporated into political and policy debate in Britain. It is forcing both left and right to re-examine old assumptions

By Matthew Taylor   October 2009

As a schoolboy socialist in a 1970s grammar school, the first political arguments I had were about human nature. My idea of the good society rested on a view of people as collaborative and benign, qualities hidden by the depredations of “the system.”

Working-class Tory mates mocked my naivety. To them we were self-interested. Some succeeded by their efforts, others failed or cheated and would change only if incentivised or compelled.

Yet for most of the 20 years that I have been involved in politics—as a Labour party activist, think-tank director and government adviser under Tony Blair—debates about human nature…

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