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The liberal brain? Scans show liberals and conservatives have different brain structu
The liberal brain? Scans show liberals and conservatives have different brain structures

Kathryn Kattalia

Friday, April 8th 2011, 2:46 PM

Politics, or neuroscience?

A new study shows that brain structure may have something to do with which side a person lands on the political scale, researchers told LiveScience.

Researchers at Britain's University College London scanned the brains of nearly 120 adults who ranked their political views on a scale of one to five from very liberal to very conservative.

The results showed that those who considered themselves conservatives had a larger amygdala, a part of the brain that processes fear. Liberals tended to have a bigger anterior cingulate cortex, which monitors conflict and uncertainty.

The difference in brain structure could explain some of the traits that distinguish conservatives and liberals, researchers said. People with larger amygdalas tend to respond with more aggression in situations where they feel threatened and are more sensitive to fear and disgust.

People with larger ACCs tend to be better at tolerating uncertainty--a reason why they often accept more liberal views, researchers told LiveScience.

"Political attitude is often thought to be determined purely based on social context," Ryota Kanai,the study's author, told LiveScience. "Our research suggests that a high-level psychological trait such as political orientation might have a biological basis."

While previous studies have linked psychological traits linked with different political views, this is the first time researchers have shown new information on the physical size and structure of brain regions in liberals and conservatives.

Some uncertainties still remain. Researchers said they are unsure whether or not brain structure actually causes a person to lean one way politically or if the opposite is true--the way people think leads to increased brain activity in different regions. They also noted that people often change political views, which fall in more categories that just liberal and conservative.

The study was published earlier this month in the journal Current Biology.

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Politicians now have brains? This is unprecedented!
This does not bode well for the future. Undecided
Environmentalism is based on lies and the lies reflect an agenda that regards humanity as the enemy of the Earth. - Alan Caruba
That earned a reputation "vote" Richard111.
Well said.
Well, the real surprise in that study is that it shows that both Liberals and Conservatives actually have brains.

On a related note, we now know why Zombies are non-partisan!

I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


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