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Neuroscience reveals brain differences between Republicans and Democrats
Univ. of South Carolline via ^ | Nov. 1, 2012 | Jeff Stensland

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 parties—Democrats tend to be more global and Republicans more America-centric—but 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.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: brain; junkscience; neuroscience; science
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Thanks Vintage Freeper for posting this:

Debt Ceiling Debate in a Nutshell | | 07/29/2011 | Chip Bok | Posted on 07/30/2011 12:12:11 PM PDT by Vintage Freeper

41 posted on 11/03/2012 2:29:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: gleeaikin

“Pointed out” my ass. It’s just agitprop.

42 posted on 11/03/2012 2:31:22 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (
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To: ConservativeMind
It's the difference between those who get emotional when they think about charity and those who act charitably.

My guess: You would see similar differences between children and adults given the same MRI study.

43 posted on 11/03/2012 3:19:08 PM PDT by pierrem15 (Claudius: "Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.")
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To: mdmathis6; no-to-illegals; All

“what sort of social burdens are placed on the members...”

This is certainly the case in some Muslim countries where the price of leaving the Muslim “tribe” is death. On the other hand you have certain Christian tribes, I think the Amish, who have their young people go out in the world for a year, and then decide which life they wish to choose. Of course you also have the Jim Jones type of tribe which is as fatal as the worst Muslims. It can be really hard to leave Scientology too.

44 posted on 11/04/2012 12:21:34 AM PDT by gleeaikin
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To: ConservativeMind

That is precisely what i read from his findings ConservativeMind.

The findings were that Conservative tend to think more about their “tight” bonds like family community & country.

Lefties tend to want to think about the global community as a whole including their friends. The real question is if this is so why do leftist like imposing their values upon their so called “friends”, and for that matter why does anyone want to be friends with jerks that impose upon them?

But i suppose they are thinking too high in the sky about the “world” rather than the subsection of the same they can actually effect(insubordinate in the case of lefties).

If you ask me this only means that we can attack the leftist by attacking their flawed perception of what is good for the world and large “lose” relationships. I would put emphases on the need for freedom & autonomy.

45 posted on 11/05/2012 1:36:25 PM PST by Monorprise
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To: Berlin_Freeper

It is worth noting that the sample group consist almost entirely of collage students and thus consist of folks in a period of their lives where their friends are most important to them who are(as a group) also most likely to fall victim to the lies of liberalism having no real experience with the world to know better.

46 posted on 11/05/2012 1:39:42 PM PST by Monorprise
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To: ConservativeMind
If you want to fit in in college, you are probably liberal or progressive in some sense. That’s what the environment demands. If you’re very social in college, you probably have a veneer of liberal attitudes to smooth the way with professors and your peers. But such findings don’t say much about adults and their politics.
47 posted on 11/05/2012 1:58:39 PM PST by x
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