Pop science has struck again, this time with the news that team blue and team red may have everything to do with team grey matter.
Scientists from England and California have collaborated on research showing
that conservatives and liberals use different parts of their brains to make risky decisions - in this case, as shown in an experiment involving poker playing. They claim that this difference in cerebral activity can predict one's party affiliation with an accuracy rate of 82.9%. That rate is even higher than that yielded by political scientists' long-relied upon method of looking at one's parents' party ID, which correctly predicts the subject's chosen tribe only 69.5% of the time.
Indeed, science may be encroaching on territory typically governed by folks who prefer suits and ties to lab coats. "Neuropolitics" researcher Darren Schreiber argues that lab science trumps polling when it comes to understanding partisan politics.
Even more startlingly, the researchers assert that being a Republican or Democrat actually changes your brain structure. "Engaging in a partisan environment may alter the brain," Schreiber claims - so be warned, Politix addicts.
He explains, "although genetics have been shown to contribute to differences in political ideology and strength of party politics, the portion of variation in political affiliation explained by activity in the amygdala and insula is significantly larger, suggesting that affiliating with a political party and engaging in a partisan environment may alter the brain, above and beyond the effect of heredity."
Posted 4pm PST.