June 2022

The Political Brain

Empirical evidence suggests that the political brain is less about how humans are opinionated or view the world. And more how the brains of conservatives and liberals are actually quite physically different.

Scientists at University College London found that those “who identify themselves as conservatives have a larger amygdala than self-described liberals.” The amygdala is the fear processing center of the human brain. This finding suggests that conservatives are more prone to overreact to perceived threats.

In another study published in 2008 in the National Health Institute, National Library of Medicine. Researchers found that liberal minded students tend to seek adventure and travel more. Whereas, conservatives minded students tend to live a more orderly lifestyle and enjoy familiarity. 

“Although political views have been thought to arise largely from individuals’ experiences, recent research suggests that they may have a biological basis. We present evidence that variations in political attitudes correlate with physiological traits. In a group of 46 adult participants with strong political beliefs, individuals with measurably lower physical sensitivities to sudden noises and threatening visual images were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, pacifism, and gun control, whereas individuals displaying measurably higher physiological reactions to those same stimuli were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism, and the Iraq War. Thus, the degree to which individuals are physiologically responsive to threat appears to indicate the degree to which they advocate policies that protect the existing social structure from both external (outgroup) and internal (norm-violator) threats.”

Negativity Bias

In a 2012 study published in The Royal Society, conservatives were shown to have “negativity bias.” In this study researchers monitored subjects’ eye movements. When shown two images—one “positive,” like a cute kitten, and one “negative,” like a car wreck—liberal identifying participants would look at the cute kitten first. Conservatives, on the other hand, would look at the car wreck first.

Psychologists refer to this as “negativity bias”. Meaning conservatives’ attention is skewed toward threats. This makes the world a scarier place for conservatives. University of Central Arkansas social psychologist Paul Nail says, “Conservatism, apparently, helps to protect people against some of the natural difficulties of living. The fact is we don’t live in a completely safe world. Things can and do go wrong. But if I can impose this order on it by my worldview, I can keep my anxiety to a manageable level.” For the conservative mind it seems all about managing anxiety. That may be a reason so many gun owners identify as conservatives. Guns make people feel safe.

Feeling Safe Versus Feeling Threatened

From the Scientific American, Unconscious Reactions Separate Liberals and Conservatives, September 2012: “When people feel safe and secure, they become more liberal; when they feel threatened, they become more conservative. Research conducted by Paul Nail and his colleague in the weeks after September 11, 2001, showed that people of all political persuasions became more conservative in the wake of the terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, in an upcoming study, a team led by Yale University psychologist Jaime Napier found that asking Republicans to imagine that they possessed superpowers and were impermeable to injury made them more liberal.”

Take some time to consider the meaning of this quote. More terrorism, more war and more chaos will in turn make people, in general, become more conservative. If you want to push a society to be more restrictive what do you do? Create fear and sow chaos of course.

Politicians Use Fear And Anxiety To Decrease Freedoms

Politicians are well aware of this knowledge. If you are a politician, pushing a conservative agenda. Trying to crack down on civil liberties, or increase your power. It is in your interest to scare people. To create misinformation, conspiracy, drama and even perform false flag operations. This is no conspiracy, this is what is happening right now, and has been happening for as long as there have been top down societies.

These studies I mention suggest that the sort of information, physical events and the perspective from which the human brain processes it, triggers predictable outcomes. In conservatives with a larger amygdala, it is much easier for the process to bypass the critical thinking part of the brain and connect directly to the hardwired fight or flight part. 

Fear And Control Never Equals Freedom

Knowing this information we should then consider that media consumption and dietary preferences are two more parts of the reaction machine. Why do you think conservative news and conservative politicians are always talking about crime and freedom? They are pushing an agenda towards less freedoms, but selling it as freedom. It’s upside down manipulation and programming.

Look how much fear based media complexes exist in America. It should come as no surprise that right leaning media are pushing a steady diet of fear, anxiety inducing, reactionary news stories. With culture war chants against things like the “War on Christmas” which supposedly rejects Christian values. Of course it does no such thing. Or the “War on Meat” which rejects ideas of a healthy diet and lifestyle. In favor of the freedom to hurt your own health while ignoring the massive detriment to the environment meat production creates. Portraying eating meat as masculine.

This is all control based messaging meant to keep the consumerist status quo and support existing entrenched financial architectures. I explain the reasons and many more details in the The Political Gut. It’s all about money and power of course.