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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Oh Brother: More on Different Conservative/Liberal Brains



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There is no free will, that's the implied message here. Liberals and conservatives have supposedly different neurologies according to several studies--some of which we have discussed here.  From the ABC story:
The studies looked at things like differences between groups’ perception of eye movement, and aversion to threatening noises.  Researchers also noted that Democrats had larger anterior cingulate cortexes, which are associated with tolerance to uncertainty, while Republicans had larger right amygdalas, which are associated with sensitivity to fear. “Everybody seems to basically agree, and these are people that have scientific backgrounds,” Markoff said of the repetition in the studies. “That to me is probably the biggest eye-opener.” Although Markoff concluded the studies combine to mean that the different groups communicate in different ways, psychiatrist Greg Appelbaum said the studies point toward conservatives’ tendency to avoid something called self-harm, while liberals avoid collective group harm.
Yes, those selfless liberals and selfish conservatives. Those open liberals and fearful conservatives.  It's all such nonsense.  But Wesley, these are scientific studies!  No, they really aren't.  They are interpretations, probably with some ideology thrown in. And what about conservatives who become liberal and liberals who become conservative?  Do their brains change first or after? Unknown, apparently:
He also said someone’s brain makeup doesn’t necessarily predispose that person to think one way or another politically, calling it a “chicken or the egg issue.” In fact, it’s possible that a person’s political thinking can change their physiological traits. It makes sense to consider a person who plays video games and has good reaction times, he said. Does that person play the games because he (or she) is good at them and gets positive reinforcement or does that person hone the abilities by playing video games?
Conservatives and liberals do look at policy differently, obviously. They also look at culture differently.  But that involves a lot of things, particularly I think, personal experiences, upbringing, schooling, peer relations, rational analysis, etc.  It isn't hard wired.  And it is always subject to change.


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