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December 29, 2010

Conservatives' Brains Big On Fear, Low On Courage, Study Says

I didn't even see this one when I posted the other one. So here's more science.

A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives' brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other "primitive" emotions. At the same time, conservatives' brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate -- the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.

If the study is confirmed, it could give us the first medical explanation for why conservatives tend to be more receptive to threats of terrorism, for example, than liberals. And it may help to explain why conservatives like to plan based on the worst-case scenario, while liberals tend towards rosier outlooks.

Note how that last bit is put -- conservatives plan responsibly for the future, whereas liberals live for the moment and wind up living on others -- the ant and the grasshopper-- but rather than put it that way, they say that conservatives fear "worst-case scenarios" and liberals, eternal optimists, "tend towards rosier outlooks."

Oh, that stuff about "courage"? Um, yeah. Ask the troops.

Oh but I'm sure they are defining "courage" differently -- by "courage," they mean, in all likelihood, a willingness to sample other cultures. Not physical courage, of course.

Because, seriously? Yeah.

I Called It: This isn't 100% proof, but when I said they were probably using the word "courage" in the non-definitional manner of meaning "openness to new ideas"?

Yeah, based on this, I'm thinking that's the meaning of "courage" to a liberal.

The results, which will be published next year, back up a study that showed that some people were born with a "Liberal Gene" that makes people more likely to seek out less conventional political views.

The gene, a neurotransmitter in the brain called DRD4, could even be stimulated by the novelty value of radical opinions, claimed the researchers at the University of California.

If you're keeping track, socialism is now a 160 year old novelty of an idea.


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posted by Ace at 04:44 PM

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