Right-wing brains 'different'

By Joe Churcher
Wednesday 29 December 2010 01:00

Neuroscientists are examining if political allegiances are hard-wired into people, after finding evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of left-wingers.

Brain scans of 90 students at University College London (UCL) uncovered a "strong correlation" between the thickness of two areas of grey matter and an individual's politics.

Right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala – a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion – while those from the opposite end of the spectrum had thicker anterior cingulates. The research was carried out by Geraint Rees, director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, who admitted he was "very surprised" by the results.

The study was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth as part of his turn guest-editing Radio 4's Today, but has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with our political views.

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