Random ramblings from my beer soaked melon about politics, religion, sex, stupidities, nature, and any other subject that penetrates the haze. Sometimes crude and not for the faint of heart or people with normal intelligence, or an abundance of common sense.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Brain thickness determines political leaning: study
The human brain starts working the moment you are born and never stops until you stand up to speak in public.
George Jessel

This will most likely be my last post this year, unless I find another product like the Top Charming Breast Stimulator or come up with some stupid observation. I'll probably put it up on my blog too. That way I can annoy one or two more people.
I found this article very interesting and will have more to say at the end of it.
It's from www.smh.com.au

Brain thickness determines political leaning: study
December 29, 2010
Neuroscientists are examining whether political allegiances are hard-wired into people after finding evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of left-wingers.
Scans of 90 students' brains at University College London (UCL) uncovered a "strong correlation" between the thickness of two particular areas of grey matter and an individual's views.
Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion while their political opponents from the opposite end of the spectrum had thicker anterior cingulates.
The research was carried out by Geraint Rees director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience who said he was "very surprised" by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.
It was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth as part of his turn guest editing BBC Radio's Today program but has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with a particular political view.
Professor Rees said that although it was not precise enough to be able to predict someone's stance simply from a scan, there was "a strong correlation that reaches all our scientific tests of significance".
"The anterior cingulate is a part of the brain that is on the middle surface of the brain at the front and we found that the thickness of the grey matter, where the nerve cells of neurons are, was thicker the more people described themselves as liberal or left wing and thinner the more they described themselves as conservative or right wing," he told the program.
"The amygdala is a part of the brain which is very old and very ancient and thought to be very primitive and to do with the detection of emotions. The right amygdala was larger in those people who described themselves as conservative.
"It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes."
Mr Firth - who recently declared he had ended public support for the Liberal Democrats - said he would like to have party leader and now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg subjected to the tests.
"I think we should have him scanned," he said.
He said the coalition made him "extremely uneasy" but would not rule out voting Lib Dem in future.
"I would have to see what identity they took on because I don't recognise them at the moment. I think all three parties are in a state of re-evaluation."
Talking about the experiment, he said: "I took this on as a fairly frivolous exercise: I just decided to find out what was biologically wrong with people who don't agree with me and see what scientists had to say about it and they actually came up with something."

I don't think this was written as clearly as it could have been. Though I'm not surprised it was someone outside the scientific community who suggested the study. I have always known that some people think in a way that I would consider alien. I never really understood why, but I consider my way to be much superior.
Reading this only reinforces my opinion that the human race is divided into at least two distinct sub-species that are following their own evolutionary paths. I think I can be forgiven if I think the path I consider myself to be on is the best.
If I understand this correctly the liberal or progressive brain is more concerned with the general good and improvement for all.
The area they were talking about in the conservative brain that is more developed is the area that concerns itself with reading emotions or the way I understand it the area that controls the Fright or Flight impulse. I look at the fact that conservatives often will try to control others by turning them against a common foe. This is above all someone or some group that is different from the group they wish to control. I have always found this a clumsy though for the most part effective practice. You see it every day if you read or watch political news.
The liberal mind seems to be more active in an area that has empathy and is concerned with overall improvement for all and has the ability to be more flexible but also more scattered.
This is a very broad generalization of course. I'm curious to see another study of the brain that includes people who have no interest in politics or firm liberal or consertive leanings and see where their brain is thickest.
I think it might show a third sub-species.
I wonder which one would prove to be the more advanced.
Then again I could be full of shit.
posted by Nit Wit at 8:21 AM | Permalink | 3 comments