Brain Study Proves Conservatives Are Big Scaredy Cats

Sasha Brown-Worsham

The most recent issue of Current Biology has a study confirming things we already knew: those who are liberal politically are able to sort through and synthesize information well, while those who are conservative politically have better fear instincts.

Read: Conservatives are gigantic wimps who can't process information.

OK, maybe that isn't fair.

The results could be read either way, I suppose. If you're really good at sensing danger afoot and can smell it from a mile away, you may be a conservative. Meanwhile, if you can take information that conflicts, synthesize it quickly, and speak intelligently about it, you're probably a liberal.

Now, hmmm ... which would I prefer? Personally, I'm going with the latter because decisions based on fear are usually (gasp!) stupid ones.

According to the study, the brains of self-identifying liberals tend to have larger anterior cingulate cortexes than those who define themselves as conservative. The anterior cingulate cortex is a structure in the brain that relays signals between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

But conservatives have brains, too, despite all evidence to the contrary. And their brains also have enlarged parts. In fact, they have larger amygdalas. Say what?! It turns out, the amygdala is a structure located deep within the brain that controls recognizing a threat. Hence, all the conservatives freaking over our impending doom. It could be that they're right. OR it could be that their amygdalas are all just SO DARN BIG.

According to study author Dr. Ryota Kanai of University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience: 

Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual's political orientation. Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure.

Yowza! This changes everything. Now we KNOW liberals are smarter than conservatives. Well, that is, unless you consider it "smart" to make irrational decisions based on fear and potential danger.

This settles it. Though somehow, I'm guessing people will still find room to debate. I guess it's their gigantic amygdala. EVERYTHING is a threat, right?

Do you put stock in this study?


Image via jgmarcelino/Flickr

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