Brain`s shape `determines political views`

Updated: Dec 29, 2010, 00:00 AM IST

London: Our political allegiances could be hard-wired into our brains, according to neuroscientists who conducted scans on over 90 students. But it is not precise enough to be able to predict someone`s stance simply from a scan.

Researchers have found evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of Left-wingers.

Scans of 90 students` brains at University College London uncovered a "strong correlation" between the thickness of two particular areas of grey matter and an individual`s political views.

Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion, the Daily Mail reports. It is an almond-shape set of neurons located deep in the brain`s medial temporal lobe.

However, those aligned to the Left had thicker anterior cingulates - which is an area associated with anticipation and decision-making.

The research was carried out by Professor Geraint Rees, director of the University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, who said he was "very surprised" by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.

It was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth as part of his turn guest-editing BBC Radio 4`s Today programme but has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with a particular political view.

Rees said that although it was not precise enough to be able to predict someone`s stance simply from a scan, there was "a strong correlation that reaches all our scientific tests of significance".

IANS