Here an interesting study on how liberal and conservative brains differ:
Dozens of previous studies have established a strong link between political persuasion and certain personality traits.
Conservatives tend to crave order and structure in their lives, and are more consistent in the way they make decisions. Liberals, by contrast, show a higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity, and adapt more easily to unexpected circumstances.
The affinity between political views and “cognitive style” has also been shown to be heritable, handed down from parents to children, said the study, published in the British journal Nature Neuroscience.
Intrigued by these correlations, New York University political scientist David Amodio and colleagues decided to find out if the brains of liberals and conservatives reacted differently to the same stimuli.
So they set up an experiment where they took a bunch of people and presented them with a scenario that involved some form of daily routine, such as driving home from work, which you do so often it’s almost automatic. Then they presented them with an interruption to that routine, say an automobile accident on the road, that required them to respond to the interruption in routine and then monitored their brains with electroencephalographs to see what they could see.
The match-up was unmistakable: respondents who had described themselves as liberals showed “significantly greater conflict-related neural activity” when the hypothetical situation called for an unscheduled break in routine.
Conservatives, however, were less flexible, refusing to deviate from old habits “despite signals that this … should be changed.”
Whether that is good or bad, of course, depends on one’s perspective: one could interpret the results to mean that liberals are nimble-minded and conservatives rigid and stubborn.
Or one could, with equal justice, conclude that wishy-washy liberals don’t stick to their guns, while conservatives are steadfast and loyal.
Or one could say that conservatives are just fucked in the head.
OK, that’s probably a tad bit unfair. Still the differences would go a long way to explaining why both sides often look at the other and wonder how in the hell the other side manages to tie their laces in the morning without drooling all over their shoes in the process. I think a lot of folks probably suspected as much to begin with (that our brains work differently, not the shoe thing) so the real question becomes how to we communicate in a way that overcomes these differences in response and results in at least some form of compromise? It would probably help if I didn’t make jokes about conservatives being brain damaged, but it’s what I do.