Gallery 2

Close-Minded And Rigid

Gallery 2 - Page 3
Gallery 2-Page 2

Understanding The Conservative Brain

By James Donahue

In an earlier story suggesting that there is a political plot afoot to destroy world governments, we concluded with what may have sounded like an outlandish statement that a new scientific study has revealed a difference in the brains of conservative and liberal thinkers.

We thought, for the record, that we should explore this in more depth and determine the validity of this report.

While the study was limited in its scope, the research by a team led by Prof. Geraint Rees at University College in London found that the size of two distinct areas of the brain appear to be directly related to the political views of the people who volunteered for the study.

The team scanned the brains of two members of the British parliament, Conservative Labor member Stephen Pound and Liberal Alan Duncan. They also scanned the brains of various students that volunteered for the study.

In an interview with the media Rees said: “We were very surprised to find that there was an area of the brain that we could predict political attitude. It is very surprising because it does suggest there is something about political attitude that is encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that there is something in our brain structure that determines or results in political attitude.”

The study only scratched the surface of this issue and there is a need for much more research. For example, it is not known if people are born with this genetic makeup or if it is learned behavior.

The study found that people with strong conservative views have brains with larger amygdales, the almond shaped area in the center of the brain. It is believed to be associated with human emotion and specifically anxiety. These people also are shown to have smaller frontal lobes in their brains called the anterior cingulated. This part of the brain is associated with courage, interest in new ideas and looking on the bright side of life. Dr. Will Meek, in an article for World of Psychology, writes that “conservatives tend to be more rigid and close-minded, less tolerant of ambiguity and less open to new experiences.”

Needless to say, the liberal minded political thinkers have larger frontal lobes and smaller development of the amygdales. Thus they tend to have more flexibility in the way they look at things and in their political views. President Barack Obama is a perfect example of one of these personality types.

The UK study also found that there is a genetic difference between Liberals and Conservative political thinkers. The “liberal gene” that makes people more flexible in the way they think. Researchers at the University of California have found that the gene, a neurotransmitter in the brain named DRD4, could be stimulated by the novelty value of radical opinions.

If these preliminary studies are correct, it gives us some important insight into the strange behavior by the new pack of extreme right-wing Republican Congressmen and Senators now squeezing their way into offices in Washington, and state capitals all over the land.