Saturday, November 22, 2014
Are liberals and conservatives differently wired?
It would seem so. When brain MRIs were done on 90 young adults from University College London, it was found that self-described liberals tended to have more grey matter in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas self-described conservatives tended to have a larger right amygdala. These results were replicated in a second sample of young adults. The amygdala is used to recognize fearful facial expressions, whereas the anterior cingulate cortex serves to monitor uncertainty and conflict. A study on 82 young American adults came to a similar conclusion. Republicans showed more activity in the right amygdala, and Democrats more activity in the left insula. Unlike the English study, the anterior cingulate cortex didn't differ between the two groups. It would seem, then, that conservatives and liberals are neurologically different.