Monday, January 3, 2011

Conservative brains: more fear, less courage

Study: Conservatives have larger 'fear centre' in brain
Raw Story: A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives' brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other 'primitive' emotions. At the same time, conservatives' brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate -- the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism...

'It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes, 'Geraint Rees, the neurologist who carried out the study, told the media... He cautions that, because the study was carried out only on adults, there is no way to tell what came first -- the brain differences or the political opinions...

Evidence is beginning to accumulate that figuring out a person's political proclivities may soon be as simple as a brain scan -- or a DNA test. In a study published in October, researchers at Harvard and UC-San Diego found that a variant of the DRD4 gene predisposes people to being liberal, but only if they had active social lives as adolescents. The 'liberal gene' has also been linked to a desire to try new things, and other 'personality traits related to political liberalism.'

Image source here.