Skip to comments.Neuroscience reveals brain differences between Republicans and Democrats
Posted on 11/03/2012 8:30:57 AM PDT by ConservativeMind
With the U.S. presidential election just days away, new research from the University of South Carolina provides fresh evidence that choosing a candidate may depend more on our biological make-up than a careful analysis of issues.
That's because the brains of self-identified Democrats and Republicans are hard-wired differently and may be naturally inclined to hold varying, if not opposing, perceptions and values. The USC study, which analyzed MRI scans of 24 USC students, builds on existing research in the emerging field of political neuroscience.
"The differences are significant and real," said lead researcher Roger D. Newman-Norlund, an assistant professor of exercise science in the Arnold School of Public Health and the director of USC's new Brain Simulation Laboratory.
The study focused on the mirror neuron system, a network of brain areas linked to a host of social and emotional abilities. After declaring their political affiliation, The subjects were given questionnaires designed to gauge their attitudes on a range of select political issues. Next, they were given "resting state" MRIs which made it possible to analyze the strength of connections within the mirror neuron system in both the left and right hemispheres of their brains; specifically the inferior frontal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus and angular gyrus.
The results found more neural activity in areas believed to be linked with broad social connectedness in Democrats (friends, the world at-large) and more activity in areas linked with tight social connectedness in the Republicans (family, country). In some ways the study confirms a stereotype about members of the two partiesDemocrats tend to be more global and Republicans more America-centricbut it actually runs counter to other recent research indicating Democrats enjoyed a virtual lock on caring for others.
"The results were a little surprising," Newman-Norlund said. "This shows the picture is more complicated. One possible explanation for our results is that Democrats and Republicans process social connectedness in a fudamentally different manner."
While political neuroscience and study is still largely in its infancy, the implications for future races could be big as politicians and campaign strategists learn how to exploit brain differences to make more effective, biologically targeted appeals to voters.
The research also suggests that maintaining an open mind about political issues may be easier said than done. In fact, bridging partisan divides and acting contrary to ideological preferences likely requires going against deeply ingrained biological tendencies. And while there is evidence that mirror neuron connections can change over time, it's not something that happens overnight, Newman-Norlund said.
"The (brain) differences could be a result of genetics, experiences, or a combination of both," he said. "It takes a lot of effort to see the other side and we're not going to wake up one day and all start getting along."
Understanding the differences and their origins, however, is a step in the right direction, he said.
Interesting. It appears the eggheads performing these types of studies have no understanding that it is conservative Christians and those who hold truly strong to their faiths are the ones who give the most to charity. And, yes, studies have confirmed this conservative vs. liberal giving, showing liberals give little or none to charity.
So, in reality, conservatives not only are more local-social focused, but also more humanity-social focused with their charity than are liberals. It's just that liberals believe all they need to do is identify what their pet charities are and find ways to instead make others give, as long as it's not themselves.
And for all of this, liberals around the world believe conservatives despise everyone not in their own little area.
Democrats look at their situation and think it can only get worse. While Republicans think it can get better.
Someone I know was telling me about a neuroscience lecture they attended. Apparently there it was pointed out that the Republican brain was more oriented to tribal rules, whereas the Democrat brain was more oriented toward rational rules. I am just reporting, not judging.
You don’t need a scientific study to figure this out. Just some good old fashioned common sense. Democrats are insane; Republicans are sane.
This is a pure waste of tax dollars, especially since it has already been proven that Republicans have brains and Democrats do not.
This is not neuroscience. It is simple anatomy: Republicans have a brain and Democrats do NOT.
Democrats suffer from the effects of toxoplasmosis.
I've spent the last two days talking to vendors in the areas affected by Sandy. All of them are doing what they can to minimize the disruption of supplies to us, their customers. I have personally assured those who can't meet deliveries at this time that we will be back buying from them as soon as they are operational. One guy lost him home and his vehicles. Some of his customers had already fled, even though his business was still operational. I told him I knew of some orders in the pipeline which I would shift to him to fill some of that capacity.
The company which I worked for during the Kobe, Japan Earthquake back in 1995 did the same thing. Some of the vendors later told us that it made the difference in their decision to soldier on rather than throw in the towel.
This is how conservatives behave: We allocate opportunity. The Liberal solution would be to buy them out and give them a handout to quit and go on the dole.
A rational mind recognizes both the good and the bad consequences of actions, no matter how well intended.
The Democrat mind does not.
So much for that theory.
And does the report also state that former liberals who finally “got it” (about conservatism) are somehow able to change their brain structure and activity? Sorry, I’m not buying this.
It might have been more accurate to give the questionaires first, then do the neuro studies....then ask about the affiliations. Having each test subjest declare their allegiances prior to the questions and the neuro exams pre biases the test. Another words, I declare I’m a conservative and naturally my “declaration” might cause me to answer the test in different way then I might if I was in neutral mode.
If one truly wanted an objective test, having the subjects first declare their political biases may distort the test.
Wonder what the statistics show, as far as cat ownership with Democrats as opposed to Republicans? I'd suspect a much higher preference for cats among Democrats, being largely urban, and a much higher preference for dogs among Republicans, being largely suburban or rural.
Actually, there is evidence for that, I believe—no joke!
From reading a few popular works on “neuroscience” its seems to be an attempt to put more scientific “rigor” into psychology. Its basic curriculum generally requires more real math (e.g. calculus), and basic chemistry then the normal “psych” degree.
I applaud the effort in some sense but I don't think it works, particularly well at the undergraduate level. What would you hire a BS in Neuroscience to do? What would you hire a master's level graduate to do? Not everyone is going to get a PhD or even try to get one!
My daughter had some high school pals that jumped into this academic fad. I don't see that they did any better then the old fashioned BS pysch major.
Parents out there in FREEPer Land to me this is another faddish academic trap to get students to go into and end up with no job and gobs of debt! The only people who benefit from this are the Profs ! (I feel the same way about Forensic Science degrees! Fad degrees with very limited hiring prospects made popular by stupid TV cop shows!)
In some ways, I used to think like a Democrat. But then I grew up. I left Junior High behind.
Now that was a hoot! LOL