Do you think that your political affiliation is based on freedom of choice? Careful and reasoned evaluation of facts? Common sense? Well, you might have made your choice based on the makeup of your brain.
A wealth of studies now show that there are physical differences between people who define themselves as Liberal and Conservative. Let me break them down for you:
1. Conservatives spend more time looking at unpleasant images, and liberals spend more time looking at pleasant images.
2. Reliance on quick, efficient, and “low effort” thought processes yields conservative ideologies, while effortful and deliberate reasoning yields liberal ideologies.
3. Conservatives react more strongly than liberals to disgusting images, such as a picture of someone eating worms.
4. Liberals have more tolerance to uncertainty (bigger anterior cingulate cortex), and conservatives have more sensitivity to fear (bigger right amygdala).
5. Conservatives have stronger motivations than liberals to preserve purity and cleanliness.
6. Liberals follow the direction of eye movements better than conservatives.
7. Republicans are more likely than Democrats to interpret faces as threatening and expressing dominant emotions, while Democrats show greater emotional distress and lower life satisfaction.
8. Conservatives and liberals react similarly to positive incentives, but conservatives have greater sensitivity to negative stimuli.
9. Conservatives have more activity in their dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, the part of the brain that activates for complex social evaluations.
10. Conservatism is focused on preventing negative outcomes, while liberalism is focused on advancing positive outcomes.
11. Genetics influence political attitudes during early adulthood and beyond.
12. Compared to liberals, conservatives are less open to new experiences and learn better from negative stimuli than positive stimuli.
13. Conservatives tend to have a stronger reaction to threatening noises and images than liberals.
14. Liberals are more open-minded and creative whereas conservatives are more orderly and better organized.
15. When faced with a conflict, liberals are more likely than conservatives to alter their habitual response when cues indicate it is necessary.
16. Conservatives sleep more soundly and have more mundane dreams, while liberals sleep more restlessly and have a more bizarre, active dream life.