Size Does Matter

Anterior cingulate cortex.

Image via Wikipedia

A study at University College London in the UK has found that conservatives’ brains have larger amygdalas than the brains of liberals. Amygdalas are responsible for fear and other “primitive” emotions. At the same time, conservatives’ brains were also found to have a smaller anterior cingulate — the part of the brain responsible for courage and optimism.”

All right, calm down my wonderful conservative friends and family members. I can almost feel your blood that is beginning to boil as you read this provocative excerpt from a study from University College London. I can see the eye-rolling and hear the retorts like, “Oh yeah, and did they scan the brains of liberals and find nothing?” Or how about, “Really? And did they find out that liberals brains are largely made up of cotton candy and Twizzlers?” Touche’.

Only, this isn’t a hit piece. I only want to use this study as a jumping off point. I have no idea if this study means anything other than some late-night comedians and some self-indulgent bloggers (moi?) may have some fun with the findings. I mean, just think of the implications? Can they scan the brains of Mets and Yankee fans and find that the part of the brain that controls arrogance and entitlement is 10 times larger in the Yankee fan noggin? Or maybe they discover that the control center for self-defeating behaviors¬† is so large in Mets fans noodles that it dwarfs all other cognitive functions? What if they find that people who have irritatingly loud and personal cell phone conversations in stores have no discernible area of the brain that oversees the “I am not the center of the universe” control panel? Ooh, wait. Maybe that should also explain the teenager “I AM the center of the universe” part of the brain which must be simply HUGE by about age 16. I don’t know about you guys, but I am now fairly confident that if they scan my husband’s brain, they will find that the part of the brain that controls memory (I believe that’s the temporal lobe) may be in disrepair. That would help explain why when he takes the garbage out, he NEVER, and I mean NEVER, remembers to replace the garbage bag. Which is particularly irritating because more often than not, I do not realize this and usually wind up walking over to said garbage can with a (usually) substantial amount of dreck in my hands which I then unwittingly empty into the bag-less refuse container! Grrr. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

Anyway, the point is, does this study simply take us back to the chicken and the egg conundrum of life? Do conservatives have a larger fear “muscle” in the brain and that’s what makes them conservatives? Or is it BECAUSE they embrace conservative values that this part of their brain grows to ridiculous proportions? Part of the findings also found that there may be a “liberal” gene which becomes activated only if the now adults had an active “social life” as adolescents. There, that explains a lot. If you have a lot of friends and have some fun as a kid you grow up to become a bed-wetting liberal like me. If not, you find yourself at Tea-Party rallies misspelling signs or gathering the children up to watch Sarah Palin blow away a defenseless moose for ratings while noshing on cheese-doodles. Ok, that was a cheap shot. But really, I can’t help it. My brain made me do it.

About Blithering Idiot

I am a teacher and I love my job.
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