Saturday, January 01, 2011

Right-wing brains 'different'
By Joe Churcher
Neuroscientists are examining if political allegiances are hard-wired into people, after finding evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of left-wingers.

Brain scans of 90 students at University College London (UCL) uncovered a "strong correlation" between the thickness of two areas of grey matter and an individual's politics.

Right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala – a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion – while those 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 admitted he was "very surprised" by the results.

The study was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth as part of his turn guest-editing Radio 4's Today, but has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with our political views.


  1. This recurring report of neuroscientific discoveries alwys makes me laugh. Or mutter, depending on my mood.

    Starting with the assumption that "politics" consists of a binary field.

    That assumption poses problems even if we accept it. The US version of this researech maps brain structure onto the contrast conservative vs. liberal.

    In my book, "liberal" and "leftist" are not equivalent terms.

    Then I start thinking about history. For instance, the 1932 elections in the US. did the Great Depression really induce such deep and widespread changes in brain structure? And socially specifc too!

    For me it all boils down to a simple questions. How ideologically blindered and theoretically inept do you have to be to be a neuroscientist?

  2. I have to add this comment, so the main page no longer says "1 Comments."

    I mean, I suppose one does, but they did not mean it that way.

  3. heheh!

    it really is funny, and scary.

  4. there was a fun thread years ago at AmericanStranger about Deacon and his "language parasite" alongside Brassier's trekkie "scientific" thatcherism/hayekianism.

  5. In Europe, we have to wonder what brain trauma has been recently suffered by the voters of the Lib Dems in Britain and the Free Democrats in Germany. Which comes first, the brain damage or the banging your head against the wall?