Now We Know; Conservatives Have Weird Brains

I often suggest to my conservative friends that they should have their heads examined. And at last, someone has done just that – examined conservatives’ brains. And -surprise – it turns out their brains are, well, different.

According to a report by Christopher R. Walker in today’s Salon.com:

A ┬ástudy to be published next year at University College London suggests that conservative brains are structured differently than the brains of other people…

Specifically, the research shows that people with conservative tendencies have a larger amygdala and a smaller anterior cingulate than other people. The amygdala – typically thought of as the “primitive brain” – is responsible for reflexive impulses, like fear. The anterior cingulate is thought to be responsible for courage and optimism. This one-two punch could be responsible for many of the anecdotal claims that conservatives “think differently” from others.

The operative word here, it seems to me, is “primitive.” Knuckles-dragging-on-the-ground primitive.

But conservatives (naturally) see it differently.

They think it’s our brains that are deficient. Here’s how Walker put it:

A previous University of California study suggests … a so-called “liberal gene” – the neurotransmitter DRD4 – (is) responsible for an increased receptiveness to novel ideas.

Predictably, conservatives have jumped on both studies as an indication of their biological superiority. Across the right-leaning blogosphere and twitterverse, DRD4 was cited as the underlying cause of the “mental illness” known as liberalism; and some conservative tweeters have even tried to claim that the enlarged amygdala just means that conservatives “have bigger brains.” Of course, the first claim begs the question, and the second ignores the shrunken anterior cingulate.

So, we might as well stop trying to enlighten those conservatives. They are anterior cingulate deprived.

And it makes no sense arguing with someone with an overgrown amygdala.

Their arguments are bound to be primitive.


4 thoughts on “Now We Know; Conservatives Have Weird Brains

  1. You are printing comments that denounce conservatives for jumping on a study that talks of a ‘liberal gene’ and at the same time you are promoting a study that suggests that conservatives are ‘primative.’ I guess I am primative in my thinking. I believe that if I earn it I should get to keep it. I should take care of my family and make sure my child gets an education. I should treat people fairly and with respect. I should be charitable. Finally, I believe that I can take care of myself, so leave me alone.

  2. Yes Steve, your thinking is primitive. In Jamaica we have a saying, “throw rock stone in a pig sty – the one that hollers is the one you hit”!! Guess George hit a raw nerve! Actually, in case you missed it, this is the 21st century and we now have a thing called “society” which collects taxes to look after those who are unable to look after themselves and to maintain things like roads, bridges, sewers, etc. We also need a Government, which creates and enforces laws and regulations, to protect us from each other. Remember Wall street, where greed was allowed to go unchecked, and the market was allowed to regulate itself? In the Army we say, c’m on man, wake up, shake your head. Bill G.

  3. In my attempts to answer the perennial question, “What on God’s green earth is wrong with conservatives?”, I have assumed for years that conservatism is some form of mental illness and should be diagnosed and treated as such. How else to explain their rejection of logic and reason, their quick, ready rage, their crippling fear? Normal people don’t respond to reality this way.

    Now, at last, the answer. Conservative brains are defective! The overdeveloped emotional center and corresponding underdevelopment of the decision-making center (this area’s functions are explained more clearly elsewhere than here) map exactly to the inexplicable behavior of conservatives that we observe to our dismay.

    Answering this question is less satisfying to me than I had hoped, because I have no idea what to do about such a large proportion of our citizenry having brains that are wired in this counter-productive way.

    Nothing you can say to a conservative can change the basic fact of their inappropriate brain structure. So, don’t waste time trying to “reason” with them. The poor dears just can’t do it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *