Brains of Liberals and Conservatives Have Differences, According to 13 Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Compiled by ProCon.org
[Go directly to “Differences in Conservative and Liberal Brains” or read the press release below for more details.]
Whether or not you become a political conservative or liberal may be predetermined by your brain. Liberals and conservatives tend to have different brain structures, different physiological responses to stimuli, and activate different neural responses when confronted with similar situations, according to 13 peer-reviewed studies compiled by ProCon.org.
Overviews for each scientific study, and in many cases the studies themselves, are available on the ProCon.org website at https://2012election.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004818
The studies – including ones published in Science, Nature, and Current Biology – were done between 2007 and 2012. Some of the differences they found between liberals and conservatives included:
* Liberals are more open-minded and creative whereas conservatives are more orderly and better organized.
* Liberals have more tolerance to uncertainty (bigger anterior cingulate cortex), and conservatives have more sensitivity to fear (bigger right amygdala).
* Compared to liberals, conservatives are less open to new experiences and learn better from negative stimuli than positive stimuli.
ProCon.org Chairman Steven Markoff commented, “Although the studies are interesting by themselves, together they suggest ‘hard wiring’ in our brains inhibits interaction across the political aisles and limits the communication needed to stimulate critical thinking which is vital to better decision making.”
In terms of popularity on ProCon.org’s 2012 Election website, the brain differences webpage ranks behind the Presidential Candidate Match Quiz (https://2012election.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004491) and the Summary Chart of Presidential Candidates’ Views on Over 60 Issues (https://2012election.procon.org/view.source-summary-chart.php?topic=64).