The liberal brain

It turns out that liberals really are more comfortable with complexity than conservatives. A scientific study found actual differences in the brain structures of self-described liberals and self-described conservatives. A portion of the liberal brain – the anterior cingulate cortex – is larger in liberals. (My conservative friends are scoffing; my liberal friends are saying, “What? Only one portion?”) The anterior cingulate cortex is associated with handling complexity.

Never fear, conservatives: Part of your brain is larger, too. Conservatives tend to have bigger amygdalae. The amygdala is associated with fear and anxiety.

“It’s very unlikely that actual political orientation is directly encoded in these brain regions,” lead researcher Ryota Kanai said in a statement accompanying the study. “More work is needed to determine how these brain structures mediate the formation of political attitude.”

Fear and anxiety vs. complexity. The relationship to political orientation doesn’t seem that complicated to me.

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