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  • The world feels pretty divided, currently 81% of both liberals and conservatives have

  • unfavorable views towards those on the other side.

  • But is there actually a fundamental biological difference between liberals and conservatives?

  • On the surface we can see some funny differences like

  • conservatives like meat and potatoes more while liberals tend to like trying food from other cultures more.

  • In general conservatives prefer purebred dogs while liberals prefer mixed breeds and liberals are ok with free verse poetry while conservatives prefer it to rhyme.

  • But as we study more we realize that the differences are much deeper. When put through MRI brain scans,

  • it turns out that liberals are more likely to have a larger anterior cingulate cortex

  • which is associated with understanding and monitoring conflict, while conservatives have a larger right amygdala

  • which helps process fear and anxiety. And that makes sense given the years of research that have shown people tend to become a more conservative

  • when they feel threatened or afraid.

  • After 9/11, for example, the u.s. became politically more conservative with studies showing increased support for issues

  • like national security and military spending. But studies have also found that conservatives and liberals employ different cognitive styles.

  • Conservatives excel when it comes to more structured and organized problems or questions

  • whereas liberals tend to be more flexible and less likely to commit errors with questions involving conflicting information and requiring fast reaction times.

  • One study looking at dorm rooms even found that on average

  • conservative students rooms were less messy than liberals.

  • But they also experienced pain in different ways. So much so that one study was able to predict who is liberal or conservative

  • just by viewing brain scans of them looking at graphic photos containing mutilations.

  • In this instance liberal brains were more active in the s2 or somatosensory two region

  • which is normally activated when you're in pain, but also when you see someone else suffering.

  • It's essentially scientific evidence for the bleeding-heart liberal stereotype

  • which doesn't mean conservatives are uncaring but that their minds just respond to graphic images differently.

  • In America this can explain how Democrats and Republicans perceive the world in fundamentally different ways.

  • It's difficult to grasp how someone on the other side of politics thinks because we tend to overestimate the extent to which our opinions believe some values are normal.

  • Psychologies refer to this as false consensus bias. For example, if you heard Yanni in Yanni vs

  • Laurel debate it may have felt that you were the normal one and it was

  • insane that anyone could be hearing Laurel. Apply this logic to politics and you can see why people have such

  • polarizing ideas on issues like immigration,

  • abortion, gun rights etc.

  • But where do these differences come from? One study revealed that genetics can account for around thirty to forty percent of a person's

  • political leanings, which may seem like a lot but there are still many other important factors like your environment and

  • personal experiences which play massive roles in your politics.

  • Political neuroscience is a relatively new field of study with fascinating results and in a world that's being increasingly characterized by its divisions

  • perhaps an important aspect of unity involves using neuroscience to better understand each other's differences.

  • On a lighter note space is a place for liberals and conservatives and nations all over the world come together.

  • And we actually just made a video where we tried out the latest

  • space food that astronauts are eating right now. Click here or the description to check it out.

  • Also, if you want even more science, we have a weekly science podcast, so subscribe to it.

  • The link is like down there I think and it's called sidenote.

The world feels pretty divided, currently 81% of both liberals and conservatives have

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Liberals vs Conservatives - Which Brain is Better?

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    Samuel posted on 2018/10/28
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