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 views.
Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion while their political opponents from the opposite end of the spectrum had thicker anterior cingulates.
The research was carried out by Geraint Rees director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience who said he was "very surprised" by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.
It was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth as part of his turn guest editing BBC Radio 4's Today programme but has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with a particular political view.
Professor Rees said that although it was not precise enough to be able to predict someone's stance simply from a scan, there was "a strong correlation that reaches all our scientific tests of significance".
"The anterior cingulate is a part of the brain that is on the middle surface of the brain at the front and we found that the thickness of the grey matter, where the nerve cells of neurons are, was thicker the more people described themselves as liberal or left wing and thinner the more they described themselves as conservative or right wing," he told the programme.
"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.
"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."
Thank you for that. I have not laughed that hard for a while
why?...well it is about how brain thinks...what is there to laugh in it?
As a teenager, I was very left wing. I wore a badge of Lenin on my school tie, carried a copy of Das Kapital, and was almost expelled from high school for smuggling the Socialist Worker Newspaper into the school library.
At 17 I was involved in protests against the ultra-conservative National Party State Government in Queensland.
I pitched the first tent outside the US embassy during the failed attempt to make Iraq the 51st State of the Union.
Le Monde published a photo of me burning a French flag outside their Australian Embassy during nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll in the '90s.
I support Julian Assange, do not support carbon taxes, will vote for any party that stops the influx of refugee boats into Australia, am anti-abortion, pro-renationalisation of our privatized utilities and public transport. And not registered to vote - a criminal offense in Australia.
That is why I had to laugh.
by jiberish 9 years ago
Forget about your party affiliation for a minute and consider your upbringing, and your present views, are you more conservative in your thinking, more liberal, and why? How does this effect your take on the current happenings in Washington. I came from a very strict back ground, I lean...
by Susan Holland 6 years ago
Can you be friends with someone who is passionate about political views that contradict yours?I seem to see more and more friendships and family arguments over politics. Whatever happened to "agree to disagree." Can you move past the points you disagree on? If not, why?
by cooldad 2 years ago
In another forum, someone posted that they dumped their significant other because he/she voted for George Bush. I was kind of shocked by that. It seemed incredibly shallow to me, but I don't know either of the people involved, maybe I'm missing something here.Is this normal practice in...
by Cory Zacharia 10 years ago
Hello Everyone:Today received very disturbing images of children exploited - and murdered - by the FARC. I'm curious about how the Hubpages community feels about the FARC. For some, they may seem poetically inspired, but for me, they practice the most extreme forms of cruelty. ...
by Jennifer Mugrage 24 months ago
I just visited a Hub yesterday by a new Hubber. It was called "Hate Trumps Hate." The author is a conservative, but did not vote for Trump. She was writing about the persecution she and other conservative students are facing on social media and on her college campus...
by Billie Kelpin 14 months ago
Do left-handers tend to be liberal in politics? (i.e. Are Left-handers, left?) .I'd estimate that 7/8 ths of the left-hander I know are liberal Democrats. Seven of the last 13 left-handed Presidents, starting with FDR were Democrats. (BTW - Considering that only 10-13% of the population is...
Copyright © 2018 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
|HubPages Device ID||This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.|
|Login||This is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.|
|HubPages Traffic Pixel||This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.|
|Remarketing Pixels||We may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.|
|Conversion Tracking Pixels||We may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.|