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Conservative? Liberal? Study Says It’s All In Your Head (Brain, Actually)

The brainiacs over at Britain’s University College London believe they’ve decoded your politics, and it all boils down to the size of your anterior cingulate cortex, which monitors conflict and uncertainty. Bigger, and you’re likely to be liberal, smaller and you stand an excellent change of being conservative. And then there’s the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes fear. It’s bigger, the scientists say, in the brains of conservatives.

Ryota Kanai, the author of the study published in the journal Current Biology, says his research suggests politics might be tied directly to your brain:

The difference in brain structure could explain some of the traits that distinguish conservatives and liberals, researchers said. People with larger amygdalas tend to respond with more aggression in situations where they feel threatened and are more sensitive to fear and disgust.

People with larger ACCs tend to be better at tolerating uncertainty–a reason why they often accept more liberal views, researchers told LiveScience.

So how’s that sitting with your ACC? And what about people whose politics change over time? Are there brain parts growing, or shrinking? And what if you’re an economically conservative social liberal (or vice versa)? What kind of brain does that person have?

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