The GOP Brain – Podcast July 5, 2021

The Science Behind Our Political Divide. Following a well-deserved tribute to Barbara J. Litrell on her passing, the co-hosts continue their discussion about the unsettling changes to the GOP. Hava points to scientific studies that show there is a physical difference in the brains of conservatives and liberals. The studies have shown that conservative brains have a larger right amygdala that focuses on fear and the need to feel safe. As a result, conservatives more readily recall negative images and value loyalty and stability. In addition, they more often see things through a religious filter.

On the other hand, liberals have more activity in the left insula and a larger cingulate gyrus. As a result, they love change and new information. They value science. They’re more willing to take risks. And they have greater social awareness.

Hava notes that brain structure and activity can indicate one’s political leanings with a 71-82 percent rate of predictability.

Steve adds that liberals are more interested in personal freedom, justice, and fairness. While conservatives are more concerned with structure and safety. Fear becomes an overriding issue for conservatives. He points to their past and present obsessions with integration, the Cold War, immigration, racial protests, election security, big government, gun laws, and abortion. All of which makes one wonder: Why are they not more concerned about climate change and mass extinctions?

Hava says that knowing that our political leanings have a genetic physical cause kind of humanizes the divide for me. “It takes the emotion out of it.”

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