New Study Reveals the Brain Differences Between Republicans and Democrats
According to a new study led by a research team from the University of South Carolina, in the United States, electing a specific candidate for the presidential elections could be related more to our biological design, rather than the analysis of the situation. Researchers suggest that there are differences between the wiring of a self-identified Republican, compared to a self-identified Democrat. This leads to a difference in values and perception between the two groups. The current study brings new data in the political neuroscience medical field. The MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of 24 subjects were analyzed by the team.
The lead author of the study, professor Roger Newman-Norlund says that the results of the study show that the differences between the two groups are both real and significant. The subjects were asked to state their political affiliation. Afterwards, they received multiple questionnaires designed to evaluate each subjects attitude towards specific political problems. Further, an MRI was performed on each subject, assessing the connection strength between the neurons of both brain hemispheres. The frontal, supramarginal and angular gyrus were studied.
According to the research team, the results of the study indicate that Democrats are more likely to have a higher neural activity in the regions of the brain that are linked to a broader social connection, such as friends and the world. On the other hand, a higher neural activity in the brains of the Republicans was discovered in areas linked to a less-broader social connection, such as family and the country. The results of the study confirm the stereotype about Democrats and Republicans. According to this stereotype, Republicans tend to be more country-oriented whilst Democrats tend to have a global view.
“This shows the picture is more complicated. One possible explanation for our results is that Democrats and Republicans process social connectedness in a fundamentally different manner”, noted professor Newman-Norlund.
Researchers suggest that even though the political neuroscience domain is still relatively new, its future implications are big. For future political debates, campaign analysts and strategists could learn new methods that would allow them to exploit and influence the voters based on their brain differences.
Professor Newman-Norlund suggests that the brain is a combination of genetics and personal experiences. “It takes a lot of effort to see the other side and we’re not going to wake up one day and all start getting along”, he added, whilst concluding that the understanding of the existing differences is a step forward in the right direction.