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Politics Science

Is "Left" Vs. "Right" Hard-coded Into Your Brain? 758

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the you-are-a-machine dept.
New submitter kyjellyfish writes "Research published in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that your parents 'Left or 'Right' party affiliations are not the only factor at work shaping a person's political identity. Differences in opinion between 'Lefties' and 'Righties' may reflect specific physiological processes. In research performed over 10 years ago, brain scans showed that London cab drivers' gray matter grew larger to help them store a mental map of the city." From the article: "Other scans have shown that brain regions associated with risk and uncertainty, such as the fear-processing amygdala, differ in structure in liberals and conservatives. And different architecture means different behavior. Liberals tend to seek out novelty and uncertainty, while conservatives exhibit strong changes in attitude to threatening situations. The former are more willing to accept risk, while the latter tends to have more intense physical reactions to threatening stimuli."
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Is "Left" Vs. "Right" Hard-coded Into Your Brain?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:11AM (#42941685)

    So what the article is saying is that conservatives are pussies. Gotchya.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by daem0n1x (748565)

      All this debate about left and right, conservatives and liberals is so fucking stupid. For example in Europe, Communist parties have a base of blue-collar workers. Those are very family-oriented and conservative, yet they are left-wing! Parties which call themselves Liberal are all for individual choices in lifestyle issues, but they are also all for the concentration of wealth, hence proudly right-wing. There's a liberal left and a conservative left, there's also a liberal right and a conservative right.

  • Reversed in America? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by readin (838620) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:23AM (#42941733)
    So how does this work in a traditionally free country like America, where conservatives favor freedom of the individual, with its inherent risk that an individual might fail, while the liberals want the government to guarantee the health safety and happiness of every human being and remove all risk from life?

    Perhaps it is explained that what the conservatives fear is not risk, but loss of control. American conservatives are afraid to place their fates into the hands of the elected experts on human happiness.
    • by bondsbw (888959)

      American conservatives are afraid to place their fates into the hands of the elected experts on human happiness.

      Experts? No, these are the people who make it through a popularity contest every few years. Popularity is the only expertise most of them have.

      Remember that giving a government too much control has really bitten us in the ass many times over many centuries... especially the last. Europeans should understand this, yet those who fail to learn history...

      • by Rockoon (1252108) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:34AM (#42941793)
        When you vote for the lesser of two evils, you get ever increasing evil.
        • by bondsbw (888959)

          I would give you mod points if I could.

          America needs to wake up and understand that there are other election systems out there. Plurality voting, which results in "lesser of two evils", is killing our ability to function politically.

          I'm starting to research the Modern Whig party [modernwhig.org]. One thing that interests me is that they explicitly promote the Approval Voting system. It's not the best, but is much better than Plurality while making very little change to the current ballot system.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:36AM (#42941811)

      So how does this work in a traditionally free country like America...

      Please stop. You're suggesting that the brains from one country are somehow different from that of another country. If we change 'country' out for 'race', it should be painfully obvious what the problem here is.

      American conservatives are afraid to place their fates into the hands of the elected experts on human happiness.

      You really shouldn't comment on the complex political landscape of another country whose citizens you apparently have little regular contact with. It makes you look like an idiot. No, "american" conservatives are just like "british" conservatives which are just like "african" conservatives, which are just like every conservative. Ever. The definition of conservativism doesn't change because of the country you're in. Perhaps its expression does, but the study here isn't about expression, but reaction. In that, conservatives broadly and as an aggregate group, are simply risk-averse. And because of how the human mind operates, an unknown risk is almost always subjectively larger in a person's mind than a known one. This is why we spent trillions of dollars combatting terrorism (an unknown risk) while both retrospectively and at the time, it could have easily been shown that a known risk (drunk driving) costs far more lives.

      To extrapolate from a specific behavior (risk aversion) a complete political ideology is... at best... dubious.

      • by readin (838620) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:49AM (#42941895)
        Well, at least the way I hear it used on the news, American conservatives are very different from Chinese and Russian conservatives. American, Chinese, and Russian conservatives do have something in common - they want to preserve the status quo or even revert in some ways to how things were before. But "how things were before" is very different depending on the country. For an American conservative, the desire is to return to a time of less government intrusion in people's lives. For Chinese and Russian conservatives the desire is to return to a time of much greater government intrusion into people's lives.

        Islamic conservatives provide another example of "conservative" that is very different from an American conservative (and actually pretty different from an American liberal too). Although I suppose if you really look at some of the societies the Islamic conservatives are actually very conservative because they are attempting to change (or have recently changed) their countries to be very different from what they were before. For example, women in Iran and Egypt used to walk around with their heads uncovered, now the so-called "conservatives" have forced them to start covering their hair or face harassment.

        An American conservatives my be similar to a British conservative - I don't follow British politics much so I can't say for sure, but an American conservatives is very different from many conservatives throughout the world.
        • by bondsbw (888959)

          This is where the terms "conservative" and "liberal" become politicized. Conservatism favors maintaining the status quo over the increased risk of change.

          Therefore, when you said "return to a time of ...", you were actually forming a liberal statement by changing the status quo. It disguises itself as a conservative thought process because people generally assume that enacting policies focused on returning to a past way of life would actually result in the life that people had before (but, such movements

      • by root_42 (103434)

        Please stop. You're suggesting that the brains from one country are somehow different from that of another country. If we change 'country' out for 'race', it should be painfully obvious what the problem here is.

        Maybe the brains actually are different from country to country, depending on cultural and environmental influences. What you shouldn't suggest is that either brain would be better than another. Difference doesn't mean that actually something has to be better, just that it works differently, while maybe achieving the same goal.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No, American conservatives are very fearful. They fear terrorists, and demand the government protect them, even if that means loss of rights. They fear criminals, and demand guns to defend themselves, even though statistics clearly show that having a gun in your home puts you at greater risk. They fear gays and Muslims and commies and immigrants and regulations. They're not bad people, they just like life as it is, and are fearful of anything that might cause changes in their current life style.

      • by readin (838620)

        No, American conservatives are very fearful. They fear terrorists, and demand the government protect them, even if that means loss of rights. They fear criminals, and demand guns to defend themselves, even though statistics clearly show that having a gun in your home puts you at greater risk. They fear gays and Muslims and commies and immigrants and regulations. They're not bad people, they just like life as it is, and are fearful of anything that might cause changes in their current life style.

        But American liberals are fearful in the same way. Out of fear of those around them they demand those around them be controlled, even if it means loss of rights (such as the right to bear arms and the right to freedom of speech (see speech codes)). Out of fear of consequences for their actions they demand the government insulate them with "free" birth control, "free" health care, "free" income, and "free" whatever else they think of. Out of fear of corportations they demand heavy regulation of every huma

      • by endianx (1006895) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:51AM (#42943851)

        No, American conservatives are very fearful. They fear terrorists, and demand the government protect them, even if that means loss of rights. They fear criminals, and demand guns to defend themselves, even though statistics clearly show that having a gun in your home puts you at greater risk. They fear gays and Muslims and commies and immigrants and regulations. They're not bad people, they just like life as it is, and are fearful of anything that might cause changes in their current life style.

        What I can't disagree with anything you said, it is incomplete. In addition, "liberals" are fearful of personal responsibility and a free market.

        Both sides are based on fear of freedom.

      • by Kr1ll1n (579971) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:17AM (#42944111)

        I am a conservative, but a Libertarian.

        I do not fear the following;

        Terrorists
        Criminals
        Gays
        Muslims
        Communists
        Immigrants

        I understand that terrorism can, and does happen. I expect to have the freedom of self defense available to me when it happens. Does not mean I fear them.
        I understand that terrorism can, and does happen. I expect to have the freedom of self defense available to me when it happens. Does not mean I fear them.
        Who cares, other than Homosexuals?
        Who cares, other than Muslims?
        Who cares, other than Communists?
        I welcome immigrants, but not gang-bangers, gun-runners, drug cartels, and the like, so long as I have the freedom of self defense available to me when they show up at my door. I also hold issue with how you willfully neglect to say "illegal immigrants". Regardless, it does not mean I fear them. Illegal immigrants take jobs that our country does not currently have to spare. We have a >10% unemployment rate. Last time ICE raided the chicken processing plant 2 miles down the road, they took into custody over 75 illegals, and by 7:00pm, there was a line out the door of naturalized citizens waiting to fill out applications.

        Ironically, all the things you say conservatives are afraid of, outside of the Homosexuals, Muslims, and Communists, actually do exist, and have been statistically shown to be problematic.

    • by stenvar (2789879) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:48AM (#42941887)

      In the US, the labels are wrong and everything is forced into a false dichotomy. In fact, there are a number of identifiable groups of voters: Christian conservatives, nationalists/fascists, progressives/socialists, liberals/libertarians, and a few smaller ones like environmentalists. A different way of looking at it is the four combinations of fiscal/social conservatives/liberals.

      Fiscal liberals and social conservatives are both motivated by fear, the former by fear of economic disaster, and the latter by fear of social change. The only group reasonably free of fear is those who are fiscal conservatives and social liberals.

    • by Osgeld (1900440) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:48AM (#42941893)

      see thats a weird crossover, conservatives want you to take individual risk, but tell you exactly what you can and cant do, liberals on the other hand want you to live your live as free as possible, as long as the government oversees each aspect of it

      so, do you want a bunch of GOD fearin, Jesus lovin, gun totin, conservatives telling you how to live your life, or do you want big brother, oppressive, if your not a victim your the problem liberals telling you how to live your life?

      I want them to both fuck off

      • Not odd at all (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SuperKendall (25149)

        conservatives want you to take individual risk, but tell you exactly what you can and cant do

        Incorrect. Conservatives are for individual risk, and ALSO states rights which are inherently letting people do what they want to do.

        liberals on the other hand want you to live your live as free as possible

        HA HA HA HA HO HE HO HA HA HA HO HE

        Oh yeah, that's why they like regulation so much, because it grants you so much "freedom" - freedom from being able to choose anything but a "safe" path the government agrees is

        • Re:Not odd at all (Score:4, Insightful)

          by BasilBrush (643681) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @06:47AM (#42943029)

          Conservatives are for individual risk, and ALSO states rights which are inherently letting people do what they want to do.

          Then why do they tend to be in favour of banning abortion and opposed to drugs decriminalisation.

          • Conservatives are for individual risk, and ALSO states rights which are inherently letting people do what they want to do.

            Why are they opposed to gay marriage, if that's what some people want to do?

          • by readin (838620)
            On abortion the answer is simple. They want to ban abortion for the same reason they want to ban other types of murder. You may not agree that abortion is murder, but surely you can see the logic for someone who does think that abortion kills an innocent human.

            As for drugs, conservatives are divided. See William F. Buckley and the National Review, for example.
    • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:19AM (#42942065)

      I don't see them favoring the rights of women very much or gays. That is the major reason that I just can not support them.

      It doesn't matter what my views on abortion are. I don't have the right to impose them on someone else.

      My views are the same on gay marriage. It is not something I will do but that does not change that others want to do it and they should have that option.

      The republicans say they are the party of small government and getting government out of peoples lives but they don't act like it. Also I will say the democrats are just as bad but on different issues.

      If the republicans would actually accept these social issues and actually be the party of smaller government it would be much easier to support them. However their history indicates this is just a talking point and not an actual action they take when given power.

      I don't like the democrats either but they have tended to be far more accepting of other lifestyles and choices over the last 20 years or so and do more to push technology. Right now most people still don't realize that many of the jobs are gone and will never be coming back and our society is not really trained for the kinds of work that is needed now.

      I am not saying that everyone needs a college education but there are good jobs that do need trained technicians that we should be teaching people to do and it doesn't matter if you are a democrat or republican. If you can find a program that costs $x and pays back >$x in tax revenue it is a good idea to do it since it puts more people to work and makes them productive citizens.

      It is so tiring to hear ideas painted with liberal or conservative and then automatically thrown out. In many areas we need welders, electricians, etc but the funding is not there to get people out of poverty to train for those jobs and end the cycle. We also have a pretty decaying infrastructure in this company and are losing a LOT of jobs to places like germany with better infrastructure.

      • by readin (838620)
        What rights of women do American conservatives oppose? They support the right of American women to be born just as much as they support the right of American men to be born.

        Most of what I've seen recently presented as anti-women is really just pro-freedom. Sandra Fluke wanted to force other people to pay for her recreational activities. Conservatives said that was ridiculous because it was. It wasn't a matter of women's rights - it was a demand for a government subsidy at the expense of other people.
    • by baboo_jackal (1021741) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:59AM (#42942233)
      I don't think it's at all reversed. Here's how I rationalized it: At a low level, people with "conservative" brains tend to be risk-averse. As a result they engage in less risky and novel behaviors, and overall have more positive (or less tragically negative?) outcomes. The end result is that they tend to be more self-reliant, and in their higher cognition don't see why one should need an extensive social safety net, and therefore oppose it. Conversely, people with "liberal" brains seek out novelty and therefore expose themselves to more risk. As a result, some liberals end up with tragically bad outcomes, and the ones who don't (i.e., have trained themselves to be appropriately risk-averse) can cognitively understand how one might end up in a bad spot. This, coupled with their tendency towards feelings of connectedness and presumably empathy, result in a greater desire for more extensive social safety nets.

      Put another way, conservative brains are all like, "Well, I would never let myself get into that position. Even if I did, I'd get myself out of it. I don't see why they deserve help." and liberal brains are all like, "Even if that person didn't make the best choices at every juncture in their life (or even made lots of bad ones), I can totally understand how they made the choices they did. At some less wise point in my life, I might have made the same decisions. They deserve our help."
  • Structural? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:28AM (#42941765)

    It's not hardwired: If it were, we'd be able to do these scans at birth or an early age and find similar patterns. But we don't. Which means the brain's structure changes in order to specialize in certain thought and behavior patterns. The fact that this applies to politics as well as, say, geospatial, tasks, should be absolutely no surprise.

    It's disengenuous to suggest these things are hard-wired because they imply they cannot be changed. Except they can: I've known many people who, after experiencing a significant emotional event, altered their politics, religious affiliation, and even base personality traits. The human brain is exceptionally malleable. This study only offers a snapshot at a particular point in time and suggests that if certain structural properties are present, the thinking pattern is likely to be of a certain type. It does not say whether that structure was present before, after, or the extent to which it can be changed, and if so, how quickly.

    It's like taking a photograph of a car driving down the road and assuming that it's on that road, and only that road, forever.

  • Two party bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dyingtolive (1393037) <brad DOT arnett AT notforhire DOT org> on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:37AM (#42941817)
    Oh look, it's news reinforcing the false premise of the two party system.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Conservative and liberal are valid ideologies outside of the US they just have a different meaning, which is not really left vs right. In fact, the antithesis of conservative is not liberal but progressive. Conservativism simply seeks to avoid fast changes and preserve the status quo. Which is why in a leftist society it incorporates quite a few leftist ideas, like modern English or German conservativism.
      Conservatives believe that society can't tolerate fast changes, and that every new thing we want to do s

  • I don't believe it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:40AM (#42941831)

    "Liberals" (in the modern US sense of progressives / left wing) are enormously fearful and risk averse: they want governmental protection against unemployment, against medical expenses, against global warming, against guns, and lots of other things. Granted, the nature of these fears are seemingly more rational and plausible than those of conservatives (who seem to fear anything from the wrath of God to being tempted into homosexuality by gay marriage), but they are still driven by fear.

    The only group who isn't driven by fear is libertarians, people who actually have trust in their ability to make a living somehow and survive in an uncertain and changing world, independent of God or government help. Libertarians are often linked with "conservatives", but they are more accurately described as classical liberals.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maz2331 (1104901)

      That's why I am basically a libertarian in outlook. I don't want help from the public, and really kind of resent being made to support people who should be doing for themselves. I'm fine with some programs to help the old, sick, or infirm... but demmit get off your ass and do something if you can.

      And I say this after being unemployed, living hand-to-mouth, and refusing to take benefits.

      Life can suck, get a fucking helmet and get to work! And after the hard times comes good times!

    • by Ambassador Kosh (18352) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:30AM (#42942125)

      What about those of us that want a universal health care system because the system we have now costs society more in things like crime, lower productivity and inefficiency that a universal system would?

      It has nothing to do with fear, it is just practicality. The profit motive for medicine is not really working and it leading to pretty poor health outcomes. Based on various recent studies our computer systems give about 40% better patient outcomes at about 50% of the cost.

      I think the medical system is due for a massive overhaul to make it work better and cheaper but I don't see that happening with the corporate system we have now and I also doubt that the kind of universal health care system we can get in this country would get us there either but it would still be better than what we have now.

      For global warming the way I see the problem is companies are allowed to damage private and communal property without paying for it. If companies that damaged underground aquifers by fracking had to actually play the FULL COST to clean up the damage they would do it safely or stop pretty quickly. The entire reason that companies can do all this polluting is they are externalizing the costs to the taxpayer and future generations in return for profits for them right now. Look at BP, the fine they got for polluting the gulf of mexico is insignificant compared to the costs of the cleanup. So long as that remains true they are going to keep doing it because that is the way the incentive structure is setup. You get the behavior you incentivize for, not the behavior you claim to support.

      For guns I just want universal background checks. I don't care about the clip sizes or the types of weapons very much. Especially given that pistols are the most common weapon used to kill people not rifle type weapons.

      I do like government protection against unemployment. Mostly because I like that more than desperate people doing whatever they can to get food for themselves and their family which costs a lot more to the society than just helping them. However I don't think we help people effectively. If you lose your job it would be nice if your skills could be evaluated and training offered for indemand positions. So a welding company that can't fill a position could basically tell a government jobs program about the position and a person could be offered to be trained for that position.

      Sometimes social programs are just the cheapest way to solve a given problem. It is a nice idea to say that everyone needs to stand on their own and deal with their own problems. However humans are also pretty violent when pushed into a corner and if someone has no other way to get food they will tend to just take it which is more expensive for all of us.

    • by GauteL (29207) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @05:21AM (#42942709)

      The only group who isn't driven by fear is libertarians, people who actually have trust in their ability to make a living somehow and survive in an uncertain and changing world, independent of God or government help.

      Interestingly enough, you didn't once consider concern for the plight of others in your post, but managed to make it all about the trust in your own abilities. Is it not possible that some may feel perfectly safe in their own position, but believe even the bum down the street has a right to medical care if he gets sick?

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:26AM (#42942107)

    From the article Not by Twins Alone: Using the Extended Family Design to Investigate Genetic Influence on Political Beliefs [wiley.com]


    Variance components estimates of political and social attitudes suggest a substantial level of genetic influence, but the results have been challenged because they rely on data from twins only. In this analysis, we include responses from parents and nontwin full siblings of twins, account for measurement error by using a panel design, and estimate genetic and environmental variance by maximum-likelihood structural equation modeling. By doing so, we address the central concerns of critics, including that the twin-only design offers no verification of either the equal environments or random mating assumptions. Moving beyond the twin-only design leads to the conclusion that for most political and social attitudes, genetic influences account for an even greater proportion of individual differences than reported by studies using more limited data and more elementary estimation techniques. These findings make it increasingly difficult to deny that—however indirectly—genetics plays a role in the formation of political and social attitudes.

    The article can be found here [152.98.160.29].

    This is complex indeed.

  • by markdavis (642305) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:31AM (#42942129)

    Real political philosophy is not a one-dimensional "right" or "left". I know it is hard for some people to grasp, but you can't describe everything political on that stupid scale.

  • Not likely... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by blahplusplus (757119) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:36AM (#42942149)

    ... since americans are among the most uninformed electorates on the planet today. The average american, and average slashdot poster is CLUELESS about politics.

    The reality is america is totally hard right, obama would have been not long ago a moderate republican (which is hard right the rest of the world). So you have a bunch of clueless americans who are voting between basically what amounts to the same flavor of hard right ideology with little difference. Many americans then make a big stink about their uninformed political views and opinions.

    Reality is the average american is too ignorant/stupid to have any kind of informed political view of america given the huge amount of propaganda that pervades their media and education system.

    • Re:Not likely... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @07:37AM (#42943169)

      The average american, and average slashdot poster is CLUELESS about politics.

      As opposed to the average citizen of any other country? Why is it necessary to hold the average american up to some special standard?

      Reality is the average american is too ignorant/stupid to have any kind of informed political view of america given the huge amount of propaganda that pervades their media and education system.

      Reality is... every first world country has a government with a bureaucratic process so dense as to blunt, if not entirely dissipate, any creative process for change. You say they're ignorant and stupid, but that's an ignorant and stupid attitude. The truth is, most people aren't interested in politics because its emotionally painful if one becomes overly-involved. That's not an unintelligent response to a hopelessly and needlessly complex system designed specifically to be resistant to intelligent and thoughtful discourse.

      You simply picked the one with the largest military and economy in the world to shit on, for no other reason than because you want to pull it down for your own emotional gratification. How you managed to get this to be labelled "+5 insightful" is simply saying that a great many people also have such emotional needs... but having offered no proof or objective analysis, "insightful" is not the word I would use to describe your reaction. But then, there is no "+5, I Agree Because I Have Emotional Needs That Depend On Crapping On Others" option.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:09AM (#42942281) Homepage

    ... seems to be wired for big-endian.

  • by loufoque (1400831) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:13AM (#42943553)

    This journal should try to answer that question first before making silly correlations between party affiliation and personality traits.

    Left and Right, Liberals and Conservatists, was originally a distinction that made sense at the beginning of democracy: do we try to keep a system similar to what was before (conservatists) or do we try for something new and different (liberals).
    Obviously, you don't want to ever keep trying for something new and different. All you end up with if you do that is change for the sake of change, instability, and needlessly complicated laws piled on top of each other. In current times, it is actually the right wing that enacts the most new laws, which is quite opposed to what you'd expect since they're therefore the ones doing change. Oh, there certainly are some real evolutions wanted by the lefties, such as legislating marijuana, which probably should have happened decades ago but hasn't due to ill-placed conservatist convictions, but it's mostly a small mediatic issue with little relevance in the grand scheme of things.
    So what is the difference between left and right, really? You could say it's that right wing governments want to minimize government spending and taxation, while left wing wants to use taxpayer money to provide a baseline of quality to a variety of services (health, pension, transport, telecommunications...). A savvy person would think the first approach is best as governments are not able to efficiently run services, while it is good to have a minimum service for the latter. Yet in the past decades government spending has always been highest with right wing governments.
    There are actually many issues where you'll find that the distinction is not clearly cut or has varied considerably among history.
    In the end, Left or Right, it doesn't mean anything other than who's sponsoring you.

  • by CaptainLard (1902452) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @09:17AM (#42943573)
    I think the research passes the smell test. It makes sense that two groups of people that can look at the same topic and have wildly differing opinions probably have some structural difference in the organ that creates those opinions. If you look past the "conservatives are pussies, liberals are daredevils" flamebait, there are a lot of interesting questions like how do those structures form and change? Perhaps those questions can be answered by reading the article? Hopefully some other readers out there are also interested in the science. Unfortunately after a quick scan through the comments I didn't see any neuroscience or biology types chiming in. Just right vs left vs not left enough.
  • by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @10:23AM (#42944159) Journal

    Look, I know it's hard enough to get editors that perform basic functions like "make sure the link isn't just blog or product pimping" or "make sure that article hasn't been posted already", so asking them to actually PARSE the text and edit it is expecting a lot....but really, could you slant the language in the summary more?

    "From the article: "Other scans have shown that brain regions associated with risk and uncertainty, such as the fear-processing amygdala, differ in structure in liberals and conservatives. And different architecture means different behavior. Liberals tend to seek out novelty and uncertainty, while conservatives exhibit strong changes in attitude to threatening situations. The former are more willing to accept risk, while the latter tends to have more intense physical reactions to threatening stimuli.""

    So when liberals do it, its 'novelty, uncertainty' or 'risk'.
    When conservatives do it, it's 'threatening'.
    No, no editorial bias there.

    Would it read differently if we reversed the words used, and said that liberals seek out 'threatening' situations and conservatives avoid risk and uncertainty? Meaning (roughly) the same, but it kinda makes liberals look rather stupid in turn.

    Further, from the article: "The researchers found that liberals and conservatives donâ(TM)t differ in the risks they do or donâ(TM)t take" and âoeIf you went to Vegas, you wonâ(TM)t be able to tell whoâ(TM)s a Democrat or whoâ(TM)s a Republican". The summary says that they react very differently (when in fact, the article only says their brains 'light up' differently), but their actual behavior is indistinguishable.

    Finally, the conclusion of the article says it quite clearly that the dynamic nature of the brain constantly reconfiguring itself means that we really cannot assert that anything is hard-coded...in DIRECT opposition to the summary header.

    The actual studies are fascinating, shitty /. summary notwithstanding, for a couple of reasons:
    1) to me it seems obvious, that the articles have the cause/effect reversed as well. It's not that our politics set our brain patterns; our brain patterns no doubt are expressed in our worldview/politics.
    2) it's even more curious that the differences in response are NOT reflected in behavior - that's absolutely bizarre.

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