Liberal, Conservative? It May Be in the Brain

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rjaypeters
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Liberal, Conservative? It May Be in the Brain

Post by rjaypeters »

Political Views Are Reflected in Brain Structure: "Individuals who call themselves liberal tend to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes, while those who call themselves conservative have larger amygdalas. Based on what is known about the functions of those two brain regions, the structural differences are consistent with reports showing a greater ability of liberals to cope with conflicting information and a greater ability of conservatives to recognize a threat, the researchers say."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 121337.htm
"Aqaba! By Land!" T. E. Lawrence

R. Peters

Skipjack
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Post by Skipjack »

Its all in the genes, man ;)
Of course, one would have to ask: "liberal and conservative in what country?"
Our conservatives are liberals by US standards...

seedload
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Post by seedload »

Seems to me like these brain differences between careful and adventurous people had already been identified and the only actual new thing they figured out was that:

Careful people tend to answer "conservative".
Adventurous people tend to answer "liberal".

Wow. Amazing.

Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

The article I read used a rather biased application of adjectives, so that it came out "liberals are more intellectual (i.e. smarter), and conservatives have an exaggerated sense of fear."

This has a lot to do with perspective. I admit, in some circles I would clearly be labeled "fashion challenged." But in my circles, the fashion-conscious would be considered "priority challenged."

I like the implication above that liberals are deficient in the ability to detect danger. However, this reinforces my tendency to shun "talking heads" from either extreme, and they almost invariably convince me they can't see the total picture. If there is a neurological basis for this, both extremes are probably pathological, and the middle of the road is health.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

Where it gets tricky is with a I guy like me. I started out as a flaming liberal (communist even) and now find myself rather conservative on many issues.

Did my brain structure change?

Well any way. If you take me as one example the theory seems to fail.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

choff
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Post by choff »

I was adopted at birth into an ultraconservative family but moved to the middle, so theres the nature vs nurture angle to consider.
CHoff

ladajo
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Post by ladajo »

Can't leave out drug use in the equation... :D

CaptainBeowulf
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Post by CaptainBeowulf »

MSimon,

Perhaps you have a very large anterior cingulate cortex, and a very large amygdala, so you can see all the ways people can cooperate but you can also see all the potential dangers. Due to your overdeveloped brain, you're just extreme at propounding both sides of the issues, instead of appearing to be a middle of the road person. :P

jmc
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Post by jmc »

MSimon wrote: Did my brain structure change?
.
Probably, people change their brain structure all the time.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2 ... cture-yes/

IntLibber
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Post by IntLibber »

seedload wrote:Seems to me like these brain differences between careful and adventurous people had already been identified and the only actual new thing they figured out was that:

Careful people tend to answer "conservative".
Adventurous people tend to answer "liberal".

Wow. Amazing.
If that is so, why do liberals all cower together in the cities while its the conservatives who live in the rural lands and wilderness, braving the elements? Sorry, your analogy doesnt wash.

seedload
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Post by seedload »

IntLibber wrote:
seedload wrote:Seems to me like these brain differences between careful and adventurous people had already been identified and the only actual new thing they figured out was that:

Careful people tend to answer "conservative".
Adventurous people tend to answer "liberal".

Wow. Amazing.
If that is so, why do liberals all cower together in the cities while its the conservatives who live in the rural lands and wilderness, braving the elements? Sorry, your analogy doesnt wash.
Obviously because the study was conducted in a city and the wild and adventurous conservatives out in the wilderness couldn't be contacted.

Study sounds like bullshit to me, from the potentially inverted conclusion I was pointing out, and possibly from the sampling methodology that you point to. I hate these kinds of studies. We probably agree more than was apparent in my post.

ladajo
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Post by ladajo »

Or because a city is inherently chaotic and dangerous, whereas it is safer in the suburbs and rural areas.

Diogenes
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Post by Diogenes »

IntLibber wrote:
seedload wrote:Seems to me like these brain differences between careful and adventurous people had already been identified and the only actual new thing they figured out was that:

Careful people tend to answer "conservative".
Adventurous people tend to answer "liberal".

Wow. Amazing.
If that is so, why do liberals all cower together in the cities while its the conservatives who live in the rural lands and wilderness, braving the elements? Sorry, your analogy doesnt wash.

I think this is a misapplication. ( It's not that Liberal congregate in cities, its more likely that those who congregate in cities trend liberal.) Both Liberals and Conservatives come from the same set of genes. While some genes may favor one disposition or the other, I think the conditions obtaining during their formative years color most peoples thinking. I think the City/Country divide tends to create the contrary mindsets in their respective populations.


I also thing that the tendency to lean Liberal or Conservative has a great deal to do with the wealth one is raised with and how hard one is required to work when growing up.

For those to whom money comes relatively easily, it's no big deal to be "Adventurous." (Daddy's money will rescue me.) For those who must scrimp and save as much as they can and who must constantly worry about the future, it is foolhardy to take unnecessary risks. Hence the differences in dispositions.
‘What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass.’
— Lord Melbourne —

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