Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Golly, I'm glad we're not as dumb as scientists in the past!

I mean, they used to believe in phrenology:

Boy, what a bunch of idiots.  We're ever so much smarter today.  Oh, wait:

Neuroscientists are examining whether political allegiances are hard-wired into people after finding evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of left-wingers.

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

Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion while their political opponents from the opposite end of the spectrum had thicker anterior cingulates.
Woah!  Phrenology's back!  And badder than ever!  I'm certain that you're shocked - shocked! - that it turned out to be conservatives influenced by the primitive part of the brain.   And lest you scoff at the (ahem) checkered history of phrenology, let me just say that this is straight up.  Really:

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


Mr Firth - who recently declared he had ended public support for the Liberal Democrats - said he would like to have party leader and now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg subjected to the tests.

"I think we should have him scanned," he said.
Hey, now there's a scientific justification for hooking politicians up to high-voltage test equipment!  Err, "mostly" scientific:
The research was carried out by Geraint Rees director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience who said he was "very surprised" by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.
Emphasis mine.  Oh, well.  Can we still hook up politicians to high voltage devices?

1 comment:

Midwest Chick said...

The results make absolutely no sense from what I know of conservatives and liberals. It's always the liberals with the "I know someone who was affected by XX." designed-for-emotional-reaction stories and the conservatives are "Let's see your base data for evaluation." folks.