Politcal Liberals and Conservatives Essay

Politcal Liberals and Conservatives Essay

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It is apparent that liberals and conservatives differ in their political beliefs and opinions, they also differ on important psychological characteristics. Conservatives demonstrate stronger attitudinal reactions to situations of threat and conflict, whereas liberals tend to seek out novelty and uncertainty. In addition, liberals are more risk accepting than conservatives. Similarly, conservatives have more intense physical reactions to threatening stimuli as opposed to liberals who have stronger physiological responses to situations of cognitive conflict. Scholars have assumed for centuries that people vote based on their household voting or because of the numerous civic classes that he or she had to sit through during school. But this view has finally started to change and develop as the disciplines of psychology and science have grown. Studies are expanding on political orientation and beliefs by looking at genes as a primary influence on political engagement as opposed to just the environment. Resulting findings show that genetic variation plays important role in explaining variation in political behavior (Edsall, 2013). For example, a twin study showed that a substantial amount of the variability in political ideology reflects genetic influences, which then interact with the social environment. Although political attitudes are commonly assumed to solely have environmental causes, recent studies have begun to identify biological influences on an individual’s political orientation.
Kanai, Feidlen, Firth, and Rees (2011) captured political attitudes on a single-tem measure where participants used a five-point scale to rate themselves from very liberal to very conservative. Even though this may seem like a simple measure, it a...


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...ygdala and the ACC with political attitudes (Kanai et al, 2011). For example, an individual with a large anterior cingulate cortex has a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and conflicts and therefore would most likely accept more liberal views. However, every brain region customarily partakes in multiple psychological processes. Therefore, results only offer possible accounts for cognitive styles of liberals and conservatives, but future research needs to be conducted before conclusions can be drawn.
Overall, previous studies showed that political liberalism and conservatism are correlated with brain structure. Liberalism is associated with the gray matter volume of the anterior cingulate cortex and conservatism is associated with increased right amygdala size. In addition, results offer possible accounts for cognitive styles of liberals and conservatives.


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