How your brain reacts is telling science whether you're right-wing or left-wing.
How your brain reacts is telling science whether you're right-wing or left-wing.

Loony left wing or rabid right? It's all in your mind

ARE you a rabid fan of Andrew Bolt, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Daily Telegraph?

Perhaps you prefer The Greens, The Guardian and fighting climate change?

The side of the political divide you land on all comes down to a few key reactions inside your brain.

New research published in Current Biology finds that the way we react to a single "disgusting image" is enough to tell academics whether we are rabidly right-wing or a loony leftie.

Are you passionate about all things left? This could explain why.
Are you passionate about all things left? This could explain why. Beverley Lacey

Apparently it's not so much about how you think, but how you react.

Dr Read Montague of Virginia Tech in the United States said his research was first inspired by the idea that your political beliefs could be inherited almost as predictably as your height.

He said our leanings also suggest how our bodies react to violence or other threats.

The research put images, especially "the mutilated body of an animal" on front of people while the inner workings of their mind were exposed with an MRI scan.

The way that their brains reacted on the scan showed their political alliances, 

"A single disgusting image was sufficient to predict each subject's political orientation," he said.

"I haven't seen such clean predictive results in any other functional imaging experiments in our lab or others."

That is not to say that those studied necessarily approved to disapproved of the images, just that their reactions lit up parts of the brain that shows whether they would be more likely to support the conservatives or the small-L liberals.

"If we can begin to see that some 'knee-jerk' reactions to political issues may be simply that-reactions-then we might take the temperature down a bit in the current boiler of political discourse," Dr Montague said.

 


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