Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brain Dead

Possibly (small study) confirming a long-held belief of mine that the conservative brain differs from the progressive one in ways of which the former should not be proud, a study in England reports the following:

Scientists have found that people with conservative views have brains with larger amygdalas, almond shaped areas in the centre of the brain often associated with anxiety and emotions.

On the otherhand, they have a smaller anterior cingulate, an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life.

We've already seen how conservatives, when faced with facts that disprove their preferred beliefs, tend to believe even harder those discredited views. The behavior is not in doubt. Now, perhaps, we find it's built of neurons and axons and olives.

So, maybe they can't help it. Their paranoia, their tendencies to make up conspiracies, to see the worst in everyone and everything (except, of course, their economic policies -- but that's in the category of resistance to fact; only a variation on the theme of inbred catastrophic thinking) -- it all percolates up, uncontrolled, from the deepest and most reptilian parts of their less-evolved encephalons.

This is not to say, of course, that conservatives should be allowed to roam freely. We can understand, we can sympathize, I can try to be less judgmental -- it's the liberal thing to do, after all. We can agree that, like those with other forms of brain damage, conservatives are not fully responsible for the ills they've caused. But, armed with that knowledge, we must find ways to keep them safe, to prevent them from harming themselves. More importantly, we must be vigilant toward their tendency to harm others. Because somehow, despite their neuroanatomic inadequacies, so far they seem to have figured out how to limit the destruction they cause to those around them, while feathering and protecting their own nests most effectively.

Gimme some of that amygdala, I guess.


  1. No fair plagurizing the former Gentleman and Grand Kleagle from West Vir-Ginny Robert KKK Bird's campaign speaches...
    Seriously, substitute "Colored" for "Conservative" and thats what you have...
    Or those Ugenecists who want to diagnose Gay-ness in-Utero so we can improve the species, I mean so parents can buy lavender curtains...
    Seriously Sid, don't ever go away, you give me a laugh every morning before I have to deal with Surgeons who wouldnt recognize sarcasm and ridicule if it slapped them in the face, and even then they probably wouldn't...


  2. We don't judge you for your shrivelled anterior cingulate, Frank.

  3. Apologies Sam, I will judge Frank: He's a friggin moron, and he likes it that way, even more every time someone says it. It's likely why he's a goof ball gasser and disses the cutters. He is proud of being a child grown old. Your welcome Frank.

  4. Dr. Sid,

    The amygdala is responsible for processing stimuli that can evoke fear, like putting thousands more on Medicaid and expecting it to remain solvent or bailing out failing corporations with the hopes that they'll "do better this time."

    By the way, there is a slight difference b/w the L & R amygdalae in terms of function.

    R amygdala processes afferent sensory inputs (especially visual), so according to your theories expressed on this blog, a "conservatives" amygdala should light up on fMRI when seeing the skin tone of our president.

    L amygdala processes afferent auditory (mostly language based) inputs, so the conservatives amygdala lights up like a Clark W Griswold decorated X-mas light show when he hears our president say things like, "its good to spread the wealth around" & "docs amputate legs for 50K" & "docs take out kids tonsils when its not necessary" and other such pearls of wisdom. (According to your theories, the conservatives amygdala may also sparkle every so slightly when hearing our presidents middle name, too.)

    Anyways, the point is who exactly decided that a conservative's amygdala is too large? Perhaps a liberals amygdala is, in fact, too small?

    Liberal's were the ones who thought it would be a good idea to follow the exact same path the led Japan into their "Lost Decade". If that doesn't make your amygdala fire, what will?


  5. Amusing, PT, to bring up liberal economic policy, under the circumstances.

  6. Dr. Sid,
    This article also sheds some light on why, while you can all but see Frank's permanent sh*t eating grin through his posts, many of you and your liberal commenters contributions are despondent, morose, and derogatory.

    It's not your fault! Your Anterior Cingulate Cortex is simply too active. While Frank's ACC blocks bad thoughts like Patrick Roy blocks hockey pucks, your (and your commenters) frazzled overactive ACC's allow all of the negative thoughts and emotions through to be processed by your frontal lobe and incorporated into your conscious mind.

    The good news is I think I can fix this for you in my garage with a few car batteries, a baby pool full of water, and a well placed clothes hanger to Brodmann's area 25. The jolt of energy should hyperstimulate the cells and tone your ACC down to the comfortable level Frank and most other conservatives enjoy. Well, at least thats what this 2005 study said happens....

    All we need now is an anesthesiologist willing to help......


  7. You're right, PT, that it's more comfortable to ignore reality. Fortunately for you conservatives who need to do so, there are progressives who will face it and deal with it, so you can live out your fantasies.

    You're welcome.

  8. Just pointing out: The scale of the illustration is not shown. For proper understanding you need to have a normal brain next to a walnut sized conservative brain to put the proposition in perspective.



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