Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Conservatives have more primitive brains

December 29, 2010 - 9:46AM
Neuroscientists are examining whether political allegiances are hard-wired into people after finding evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of left-wingers.

Scans of 90 students' brains at University College London (UCL) uncovered a "strong correlation" between the thickness of two particular areas of grey matter and an individual's political views.

Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion. Left wingers opponents had thicker anterior cingulates.

The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is the fibrous bundle that relays neural signals between the right and left cerebral hemispheres of the brain. It is more developed in left wingers.

This suggest that progressives and liberals have more integrated brains. This study is one of several that suggests there are genetic, brain and perceptual differences between left and the right wingers.

The research was carried out by Geraint Rees director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Rees said he was "very surprised" by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.

Professor Rees said that although a brain scan could not predict someone's stance simply from a scan, there was "a strong correlation that reaches all our scientific tests of significance".

"The amygdala is a part of the brain which is very old and very ancient and thought to be very primitive and to do with the detection of emotions. The right amygdala was larger in those people who described themselves as conservative.

The limbic system (or Paleomammalian brain) is a set of brain structures including the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior thalamic nuclei, septum, limbic cortex and fornix, which seemingly support a variety of functions including emotion, behavior, long term memory, and olfaction.

Janean Garofalo talked about the limbic brain of right wingers several months ago the Keith Olbermann show:
You tell them (the Tea Baggers) the truth and they become -- it's like showing Frankenstein's monster fire. They become confused, and angry and highly volatile . . . because (of) their limbic brain . . . (T)he limbic brain inside a right-winger or Republican or conservative or your average white power activist . . .is much larger in their head space than in a reasonable person, and it's pushing against the frontal lobe. So their synapses are misfiring . . .

Rightardia has noted most right wingers like Rush Limbaugh use arguments that are high in emotion an low in content. This study could also explain why right wingers are religious. Christianity has high emotional content with its belief in divine birth, miracles and resurrection.


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