FRIDAY, April 8 (HealthDay News) -- Opposing political views may
linked to differences in brain structures, a new study
Researchers at University College London found that liberals
tend to have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, while
conservatives have a larger amygdala.
Based on what's known about the roles of these two areas of the
brain, the structural differences are consistent with previous
studies that found liberals are better able to cope with
conflicting information and are more open to new experiences, while
conservatives are better able to recognize a threat and more
anxious when faced with uncertainty, according to team leader Ryota
Kanai and colleagues.
The study appears online April 7 in the journal
"Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual's political orientation. Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure," Kanai said in a journal news release.
But it's not clear whether political preferences and other
personality traits influence brain structure or vice versa. It's
possible that a person's experiences can change brain structure
over time and, of course, many people change their political views
during their lifetime, Kanai noted.
He also warned against reading too much into these findings.
"It's very unlikely that actual political orientation is directly encoded in these brain regions," Kanai said. "More work is needed to determine how these brain structures mediate the formation of political attitude."
McGill University has more about the