Neuroscience of Politics explained

Ich hatte hier schon öfter Postings über die neuronalen Unterschiede zwischen den Anhängern und Vertretern konservativer und progressiver Parteien. Jetzt hat Andrea Kuszewski beim Discover Mag einen langen, superinteressanten Artikel aufgeschrieben, in dem sie im Detail erklärt, was diese Unterschiede wirklich bedeuten.

Past studies, as well as the ones mentioned here, have shown that liberals are more likely to respond to “informational complexity, ambiguity, and novelty”. Considering the role of the ACC in conflict monitoring, error detection, and pattern recognition/ evaluation, this would make perfect sense. Liberals, according to this model, would be likely to engage in more flexible thinking, working through alternate possibilities before committing to a choice. Even after committing, if alternate contradicting data comes along, they would be more likely to consider it. Sound familiar? This is how science works, and why there might be so many correlations between scientific beliefs (and lesser belief in religion) and tendency to be liberal. Is this a hard and fast rule? Of course not. But you can see the group differences overall.

Now let’s look at the other side. Conservatives, more likely to have an enlarged amygdala, would tend to process information initially using emotion. According to Kanai, „Conservatives respond to threatening situations with more aggression than do liberals and are more sensitive to threatening facial expressions. This heightened sensitivity to emotional faces suggests that individuals with conservative orientation might exhibit differences in brain structures associated with emotional processing such as the amygdala.“

So, when faced with an ambiguous situation, conservatives would tend to process the information initially with a strong emotional response. This would make them less likely to lean towards change, and more likely to prefer stability. Stability means more predictability, which means more expected outcomes, and less of a trigger for anxiety.

Liberals, though, tend toward unpredictability. They don’t mind change, and in fact, they prefer it. They seek it out. This personality type would likely choose “change” over “stability” just because they tend to be more novelty-seeking by nature. The fact that they have a more prominent ACC helps them to deal with radically changing situations, still find the salient points, all without the emotion getting in the way. These individuals are the compartmentalizers, the logic-driven ones, while the conservatives are the ones driven by emotion and empathy.

Your Brain on Politics: The Cognitive Neuroscience of Liberals and Conservatives

Vorher auf Nerdcore:
Neuroscience of Politics
Konservativ vs. Liberal, psychologisch betrachtet