Dama Godiva

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Red brain, blue brain: Republicans & Democrats Process Risk Differently

A team of political scientists and neuroscientists has shown that liberals and conservatives use different parts of the brain when they make risky decisions, and these regions can be used to predict which political party a person prefers. The new study suggests that while genetics or parental influence may play a significant role, being a Republican or Democrat changes how the brain functions.
Democrats showed significantly greater activity in the left insula, a region associated with social and self-awareness. Meanwhile Republicans showed significantly greater activity in the right amygdala, a region involved in the body’s fight-or-flight system. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives engage different cognitive processes when they think about risk.
Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213173131.htm

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5 comments on “Red brain, blue brain: Republicans & Democrats Process Risk Differently

  1. JohnRH
    February 15, 2013

    This is stunning news. I didn’t think a Democrat’s brain would show any activity at all. 🙂 I’ve heard many of them say they rely on their gut instincts. Who would have thought.

    • damagodiva
      February 15, 2013

      They clearly aren’t even good at judging someone by instincts.

  2. necessaryandpropergovt
    February 15, 2013

    Dama,

    It doesn’t surprise me that there are measurable differences in the brain functions of liberals vs. conservatives. Thomas Sowell’s book A Conflict of Visions thoroughly explains how the different world views of liberals and conservatives are deeply ingrained in their psyche. But I’d have to say that it seems VERY premature for the scientists to assert the following (near the end of the article):

    “Although genetics have been shown to contribute to differences in political ideology and strength of party politics, the portion of variation in political affiliation explained by activity in the amygdala and insula is significantly larger, suggesting that affiliating with a political party and engaging in a partisan environment may alter the brain, above and beyond the effect of heredity.”

    I think they’ve gotten the cause & effect reversed. I think that people of different brain styles first look at life differently (“unconstrained idealists” vs. “constrained realists”), and then they gravitate towards a political party that most matches their philosophy about human nature. I think the researchers will have to do a lot more “before and after” research with the same subjects over a period of years (say from age 18 to 40) before they determine that associating with a political party causes changes in a person’s brain functioning.

    Can’t you just hear the liberal elitists using this to claim that conservatisim is a sickness?

    I have emailed the Science Daily article to our Denver conservative talk show host Mike Rosen (someone that JohnRH is familiar with too). Rosen has commented on my emails on the air several times in the past…if he mentions this, I will let you know.

    – Jeff

    • damagodiva
      February 17, 2013

      I’m sure they will start working on some type if medicine to cure us all.
      Keep me posted if Rosen comments.
      Dama

  3. Pingback: Politics and the Brain | John's space

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This entry was posted on February 15, 2013 by in USA Politics and tagged , , .

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