I know this is a cheap shot. But it’s irresistible.

This headline at Raw Story brings us to a study conducted at University College London in the UK. Here’s the headline:

Conservatives have larger ‘fear center’ in brain

” . . . conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions . . . If the study is confirmed, it could give us the first medical explanation for why conservatives tend to be more receptive to threats of terrorism, for example, than liberals. And it may help to explain why conservatives like to plan based on the worst-case scenario, while liberals tend towards rosier outlooks.

“Geraint Rees, the neurologist who carried out the study, heads up UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and was originally asked half-jokingly to study the differences between liberal and conservative brains for an episode of BBC 4’s Today show that was hosted by actor Colin Firth. But, after studying 90 UCL students and two British parliamentarians, the neurologist was shocked to discover a clear correlation between the size of certain brain parts and political views.

18 responses to “I know this is a cheap shot. But it’s irresistible.

  1. It shouldn’t upset any Conservatives. Being told there’s a biological reason why you’re citizen who focuses on protecting the nation from foreign aggressors, domestic enemies, and the harmful effects of Liberals’ experimentation is hardly cause for complaint.

    I’d be much more concerned to be told that I had a biological deficiency in those centers of my brain that governed self-preservation and threat assessment.

    What would be awesome though, is if they could do the same study correlated with income and power levels in order to see which cerebral formation was better for survival of the respective bloodlines.

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  2. ‘bloodines?’

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  3. I was keeping with the scientific / biological motif, Moe. Offspring would have worked as well, I guess – but seemed too limited in terms of generations.

    It’s not just about personal survival after all; it’s also about the survival and prosperity / security / power of one’s genetic line – bloodline – throughout the following ages.

    Of course that seems to be something that a lot of Liberals haven’t figured out. Their own proclivities and lifestyle choices have caused them to have fewer children and a higher percentage – still small, thank the Gods – of congenitally defective ones who won’t likely reproduce.

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  4. Pingback: Study: Conservatives have larger ‘fear center’ in brain « The Fifth Column

  5. Oh jonolan, come on. “Their own proclivities and lifestyle choices have caused them to have fewer children and a higher percentage – still small, thank the Gods – of congenitally defective ones who won’t likely reproduce.” Huh?

    Or are you joking and I have my humor meter turned off (Christmas will do that to one . . . )

    This study sounds quite minor, but it is interesting – I think it touches on the real differences between two types of people. Glad you embrace your type – I’ve got a dittohead brother who certainly fits the profile. He sees enemies around every corner; every terrorist is out to get him personally.

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    • Nope. I wasn’t joking, Moe. Liberals have fewer children on average than Conservatives and have them later in life, which causes a higher rate of congenital defects such as autism.

      As for embracing my type – I’m not sure if that fits me. I’m ex military and worked for years after getting out in a field where threat assessment and risk analysis were daily activities. In my case, it might just be training as opposed to natural causes…

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  6. ” And it may help to explain why conservatives like to plan based on the worst-case scenario, while liberals tend towards rosier outlooks. ”

    It sounds like Conservatives take more personal responsibility for themselves and their loved ones than Liberals. Lately where Liberals hold sway we are getting a lot of Greece fires when Nanny State can’t afford to wipe the butts of all her children.

    ” Of course that seems to be something that a lot of Liberals haven’t figured out. Their own proclivities and lifestyle choices have caused them to have fewer children and a higher percentage – still small, thank the Gods – of congenitally defective ones who won’t likely reproduce. ”

    I don’t think I buy that one. If that were true Liberals would be extinct by now. There is no indication of that happening, though there is a noticeable reduction of Liberals being elected to public office.

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  7. Hold on, Moe. There’s soon going to be a cure for the crazy people on your blog.

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  8. shortbuswonderkid

    For those who like to spout nonsense they heard on TV and have a hard time understanding big words, here is the definition of the word liberal. It implies ‘liberty and personal right’ and it implies ‘freedom’ the very principles that this nation was founded upon. Here is an old definition that has been forgotten, ‘not strict or rigorous; free; not literal.’

    Tea Bagger and Fascist, here is the word they like to use.
    When you say the word ‘conservative’, The word should mean ‘financially responsible’, or ‘environmentally aware and pro-active’. Conservative means: having the power or tendency to conserve; preservative.

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  9. For some reason Conservatives stay Conservatives. Going back to the early 1900s Liberals change into Progressives when Liberal policies fail. Then when the label Progressive begins to wear thin on the public they morph back into Liberals. Occasionally they pit stop at Planet Moderate.

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  10. shortbuswonderkid

    Seriously, no attack intended, I know very little about political ‘jargon’ or ‘rhetoric’. In my book it is all manipulation and trickery, a way to make the boxes smaller for people to fit inside. I found what you said to be funny, Mr. Scott, when that is quite untrue. Didn’t the Rebublican Party kicked out all of their moderates and shmooze up to the extremists like the so called ‘tea party?’ But your statement is true to a degree, American Conservatives love war and killing the young men of our country to protect the intrests of the most wealthy, using the old fascist statement- “It is blood that feeds the tree of Freedom” blah-blah-blah. Liberal means change, and so you are somewhat correct about liberals. They tend to change with the times insted of needing to bully everyone else around all the time.

    For the record, I am more liberal than conservative, but I would kill to protect my liberties and I will fight to protect the Bill of Rights. I’m not liberal or conservative, I am American and as long as you let them put you in a box, you will never be free. Thank you.

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  11. shortbuswonderkid,

    ” Seriously, no attack intended, I know very little about political ‘jargon’ or ‘rhetoric’. In my book it is all manipulation and trickery, a way to make the boxes smaller for people to fit inside. I found what you said to be funny, Mr. Scott, when that is quite untrue ”

    I am happy anyone answers me. My skin is quite thick. So let us examine what you said.

    ” Didn’t the Rebublican Party kicked out all of their moderates and shmooze up to the extremists like the so called ‘tea party?’ ”

    Well that was the plan. If only we could have pulled it off. As much as Scott Brown was an improvement over Ted Kennedy he is still not all that Conservative. Then you have Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, not rock ribbed knuckle draggers. Lets see in 2012 we would also like to replace Senators Lugar, Hutchinson, Hatch, and Ensign . So it is a work in progress. We proved that being Democratic-Lite does not work for us. There is plenty of room in the Democratic Party for Rinos.

    ” But your statement is true to a degree, American Conservatives love war and killing the young men of our country to protect the intrests of the most wealthy, using the old fascist statement- “It is blood that feeds the tree of Freedom” blah-blah-blah. ”

    I have made this argument uncountable times on blogs. If want to stay out of really big wars, you must be willing to fight the small ones. Your attitude was real popular in America and Europe in the 1930s. It got a lot of Americans and Europeans killed in the 40s.

    I am not into fascist quotations. How about the old Roman one which all of us warmongers like “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, which means if you want peace prepare for war. Quite the opposite of appeasement.

    ” Liberal means change, and so you are somewhat correct about liberals. They tend to change with the times insted of needing to bully everyone else around all the time. ”

    By that logic, the ” change ” brought about by the Republicans trouncing the Democrats in the midterms must have been the most ” Liberal ” event of 2010.
    ” For the record, I am more liberal than conservative, ” I imagined that to be the case.

    ” I will fight to protect the Bill of Rights. ” Glad to hear it. I remind you that the Bill of Rights are protections against what your government will try to do to you. Like say trying to shut you up by calling something you might say ” hate speech “.

    ” I am American and as long as you let them put you in a box, you will never be free. Thank you. ”

    I can’t relate politically. I can economically. I am thinking of the 1963 Pete Seeger recording of ” Little Boxes “, which refers to cookie cutter housing, which I hate.

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    • shortbuswonderkid

      A solid argument. I know more about history than politics, and I realize that isolatinalism of America in the 30’s allowed Hitler and Stalin to put the world in serious turmoil. It took a democratic president to turn his head and let the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor to slap everyday Americans into action.

      Perhaps you are rich, I am not wealthy. I don’t want hand outs, I only want the wealthy to pay their fair share as I am expected to pay. If Republicans protected the interests of all americans instead of only the rich, and if Rebublicans recognized that education is equally if not more important than warfare, I’d step a little more to the right. But they never will, because they are typically a paranoid lot. They only protect their own ambitions, and never the greater interest of all America.

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      • I think the greatest sin of the last decade was starting two wars on borrowed money, a fact that’s been conveniently forgotten by those who call for Obama’s head because of the debt. Also forgotten? Bush lost 8 million jobs (Clinton created 22 million). It’s downright amazing all this jibber jabber out there that ignores these two central facts.

        And education? Education is everything; it is our hope for the future; it made possible for our past. And yet Republicans constantly scorn the educated – as they always have. We’ll spend half a million dollars a year to support one soldier, but apparently five thousand is considered excessive to provide a year’s education to a child.

        Wars are about what’s already happened. Children are about what might be. We’re idiots.

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        • One problem, Moe – with the possible exception of Rome, all wars throughout history have been “started” with borrowed money. History wouldn’t have been filled with with genocidal pogroms against the Jews – only moneylenders around back then – if this hadn’t been the case.

          Think about it; Britain just finished paying off WW2 last year!

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  12. …wonder if those overly large fear centers of the conservative brain have a way of obscuring perspective…seems by a few of their comments here that this is indeed the case.

    ….so conservative, so strong, and desirous of the ability to retaliate, they have spent a tidy sum…going into Iraq, and Afghanistan – when all we should have been after was Bin Laden…

    I might have missed it, didn’t hear conservatives say we should really count our pennies, this may cost a lot, is there a better more cost effective way to reach our objectives – no, it was more the progressives who wondered this – and BTW we can’t call the democrats anything like true progressives, because they are mostly pansies…

    The conservative agenda…with regard to security as practice by George Bush was laughable and no where near having any perspective about geo politics…

    The fact is their policies created more terrorist then that they ever contained…and the new guys just elected, from them? Well I think we can expect more of the same.

    They will spend, spend, spend…just on different stuff, they will bluster, and boast – threatening to blow their enemies houses down, without being tactical, without that long view, necessary to understand how not to create a terrorist in the first place…

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    • I remember so well after 9/11 when Bush could have asked hte American people to do anything and they would have taken up whatever hte challenge was. Instead he suggested shopping.

      And bin Laden? Who’s he? Kids fighting in Afghanistan today were in elementary school when the war began. But kids in elementary school today probably never heard of bin Laden.

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