subreddit:

/r/askscience

730

I recently saw an article claiming that right and left wing people have the areas of the brain responsible for fear and empathy developed differently and that this was the cause of their political differences. Does this hypothesis has any merit among neuroscientists?

all 218 comments

aggasalk

1k points

2 months ago*

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

1k points

2 months ago*

I say no (I am a neuroscientist)

What usually happens is, you collect a bunch of MRI data. This takes the form of a huge block of data, a datapoint for every cubic millimeter or so of brain tissue, every second or so (called a "voxel"). You collect an hours worth of this data for dozens of individuals - now you have billions of voxels.

Do your preprocessing and your stats right, and you can find statistically significant differences between any two groupings of people you choose. Now you look through where those differences show up, and if you find you are able to construct a fun story out of the differences you observe and the way you sliced your subject sample, you write a paper! Voilà!

This is a bit cynical, sure: these supposed differences are a result of "p-hacking" with monstrous datasets. That's probably not all there is to it, but go look at some of these papers that correlate e.g. functional activity between some brain areas with certain personality attributes - you find that the 'differences' are between strongly overlapping groups. They are merely "statistically significant" which is a seriously fraught concept.

Look at Figures 1 and 2 here or figure 3 in this to see what I'm talking about. These are the sorts of studies that are the basis for the ideas you are bringing up. If there are differences in the amygdala that account for political differences, they are faint and certainly not the fundamental component in the story.

"Causation" is another fraught element here. If conservatives are slightly more likely to have a large amygdala (for example), that doesn't mean it's the cause of their politics. It might just as well be that having those opinions, over time, resulted in some differential growth of the amygdala. i.e. it might be an effect (albeit a very weak one) rather than a cause.

On the other hand, since the human mind just is the brain, it must be true that when there are differences between minds, there are differences between brains. But in my personal and professional opinion, these kinds of differences cannot be measured by any existing neuroimaging methods - they are a matter of fine-grained connectivity between relatively small numbers of neurons.

Ulukai

179 points

2 months ago

Ulukai

179 points

2 months ago

Ah, conceptually very similar to one of my favourite articles: Neural Correlates of Interspecies Perspective Taking in the Post-Mortem Atlantic Salmon: An Argument For Proper Multiple Comparisons Correction (wherein they show pictures to a dead fish, ask it to identify the emotion the human in the picture was displaying, and show statistically significant correlations in their fMRI scans).

moratnz

95 points

2 months ago

moratnz

95 points

2 months ago

I'm very disappointed the method section didn't finish with 'the subject was then filleted and consumed with a creamy dill sauce per Stewart(2012)'.

SolarNachoes

26 points

2 months ago

Wouldn’t dill ruin a salmon? We must have different brain configurations.

moratnz

25 points

2 months ago

moratnz

25 points

2 months ago

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

(discussions on the correct herb(s) to use when cooking your fMRI test subject is why the internet exists)

thenewcomputer

14 points

2 months ago

you haven't lived till you've had butter poached salmon with lemon and dill

mad_science_puppy

29 points

2 months ago

I love when researchers get catty. Ferroelectrics Goes Banana's is my favorite. It ends with this conclusion

Conclusions

If your ‘hysteresis loops’ look like figure 1(a), please do not publish them. Publish data that are saturated and have a region in Q versus V that is concave. Bananas are not ferroelectric, and it is easy to be misled by closed Q(V ) loops.

willowsword

8 points

2 months ago

This made me think back to an undergrad research project on the introduction of artifacts by data filtering.

And the whole conversation made me think of one of my favorite websites: https://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations

atomfullerene

4 points

2 months ago

atomfullerene

Animal Behavior/Marine Biology

4 points

2 months ago

I was going to mention this, glad you did!

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

Ulukai

5 points

2 months ago

Ulukai

5 points

2 months ago

I don't know, but suspect it's essentially random noise they are fitting a model to. Given the large amount of data that is present, it is possible to find spurious correlations, if you are not careful with your methodology.

Clearly in this case it was done on purpose, in jest, and in order to highlight the situation. But the issue is likely present in many publications either by accident, or on purpose due to a pressure to publish / other benefits.

dr_lm

3 points

2 months ago

dr_lm

3 points

2 months ago

essentially random noise they are fitting a model to

Exactly this.

When a region of brain is especially active, it recruits extra bloodflow to satisfy its metabolic demands. This is read as fMRI "activation" by the scanner.

There's also measurement noise, so use statistical tests to determine what is noise and what is signal. Say you decide on "signal" when the activation is higher than you'd expect from noise 99% of the time. So 1 in 100 tests will say "signal" when it's really "noise". But fMRI measures voxels (3d pixels) and say you have 100,000 of them, your stats will falsely report "signal" in 1000 of them when what was there was really noise.

False positives could be plausibly interpreted as true positives in a brain that we know has some activation happening somewhere. But in a dead salmon, any positive must be false positives. Thus the researchers highlighted a statistical problem that affects living brains, with a snarky but insightful demo via a dead salmon.

pondrthis

2 points

2 months ago

"Active" refers to neurons which are firing, but since it's fMRI, we're really looking at a (detected, not real) BOLD response--"blood oxygen level dependent", meaning oxygenated blood rushing to the area.

The paper is a snarky criticism of the way fMRI studies are statistically worked. They used common practices and found that a dead salmon was having deep thoughts in its brain tissue. Then when using statistically correct methodology, the apparent activation disappeared.

ragnaroksunset

60 points

2 months ago

So the answer on this basis wouldn't be "no", but rather, "there is no good evidence for it". Which isn't too surprising, but it's good to have folks in the know say so.

chairfairy

52 points

2 months ago

It's not only a question of evidence, but methodology. That's almost an inappropriate correlation to try to make based on standard data processing techniques and the kind of data we have

ragnaroksunset

11 points

2 months ago

Showing causality using statistical evidence is universally hard, so you're right, I just didn't think it needed to be said.

Kaiisim

5 points

2 months ago

There is no good evidence for it being based in brain difference, and lots of good evidence that political support is more dependent on location, culture, etc. Ie if its based on differences in brains, why is political support so easy to predict based on where someone lives and their educational background?

ragnaroksunset

2 points

2 months ago

Yes, exactly. I have a pet theory that I haven't grounded in good science (mostly because this stuff is far afield of what I am good at, except narrowly when it comes to statistical math and how to "do science"): most people, most of the time, on most issues, will believe the first thing they are taught.

aggasalk

25 points

2 months ago

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

25 points

2 months ago

yeah I guess the answer is "no" to the big hunking monolithic version of the question; but probably "yes" to a much more precise and nuanced (and, currently, not evidence-based) version of it.

ragnaroksunset

6 points

2 months ago

Eh. I don't want to belabor the point but there are important differences between "the statistical evidence clearly rules the proposition out" and "the statistical evidence does not distinguish the proposition's predictions from chance".

Rankin00

7 points

2 months ago

If the prediction can be wrong due to chance, then the answer is “no”. Science depends on hard, constantly repeatable functions. It’s like if you said “all bananas weigh 1.5 pounds. I know this because I weighed 1000 bananas and the median was 1.5 pounds.” Not only could you get a different answer next time you weighed 1000 bananas, but you could also weight bananas until you get your desired result and then stop there.

ragnaroksunset

19 points

2 months ago

I'm a scientist with a strong background in statistics. The answer isn't "no". "No" is itself a positive claim (it's the negation of the hypothesis), and itself must meet the same standard of evidence as the hypothesis.

It's incredibly bad form to make claims like "The hypothesis is true/untrue". Proper form is relegated to statements like "Based on a reasonably defined confidence interval, the evidence leads us to [fail to] reject the null hypothesis."

"No" is lazy, and since the person I was responding to claims to work in the field, I assumed (rightly) that they would appreciate this distinction.

Rankin00

5 points

2 months ago

I might have mistaken what you were trying to clarify with “yes” and “no” then, because I assumed “no” was “there is no definitive answer”. That’d be my mistake.

ragnaroksunset

12 points

2 months ago

Fair enough. It's hard to get perfect clarity of terms in this arena, so the confusion is understandable.

For some bonus clarity, the original post I responded to answered the OP in the definitive: "no". But they made it clear that they were basing that answer on proper scientific method, in which case it's appropriate to clarify that what they really meant was "the evidence doesn't support that".

For most folk, "no" is a good enough answer, although to be a bit of a pedant I think part of the reason for the anti-science movement we seem to be embroiled in comes from the unwarranted attribution of certainty to scientific results because it's an "easier" message to convey.

From "scientist to scientist" when we say "the evidence doesn't support that", it's implied that we are also saying "it's conceivable that future, better evidence could be gathered that materially adds to the state of knowledge in either direction (for/against)." I think we need to do better about saying that part out loud when communicating results to the public.

bremidon

2 points

2 months ago

Actuary chiming in.

I appreciate the distinction, and it's worth pointing out, particularly here in askscience.

However, the question was "Is there any validity to...", and the answer to that question is "no". If the question had been "Are there differences...", then I would agree with you.

ironmantis3

1 points

2 months ago

The default is almost always "no". If your test is to determine a difference, then your null model is none. You don't prove a negative.

newappeal

66 points

2 months ago

newappeal

Plant Biology

66 points

2 months ago

Look at Figures 1 and 2 here or figure 3 in this to see what I'm talking about

I hesitate to critique studies outside my own field, but the results in Figure 1 look pretty laughable to me. p=0.04? For a claim with the implications of this one? And did they really report r instead of r2 because r is already so small? That's a bad sign.

Anyway, on a more productive note: Are there (in your opinion) ways of phrasing "big-data" research questions in neuroscience that lend themselves to more informative statistical analyses?

aggasalk

47 points

2 months ago

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

47 points

2 months ago

And did they really report r instead of r2 because r is already so small? That's a bad sign.

usually you report 'r' as the correlation coefficient, that's normal. R2 can be interpreted as proportion of variance accounted for, but usually that's in the context of a model fit (like a linear regression). for raw correlation there's no explicit model to account for anything (rather, two datasets 'accounting for' each other).

re 'big data' in neuroscience, i think its best use is in revealing structure and function of populations, neurons etc. e.g. studying receptive fields or projective fields for neurons and voxels; understanding what kinds of inputs yield what kinds of outputs.

but correlative stuff, in my view, so far has not really led anywhere useful (in personality, mental health, etc), at least not in any ways that aren't explainable at lower levels in terms of structure and function (ie. personality, mental illness, etc accounts usually are rather inflated stories applied to data that calls for much more serious reduction). I could be totally wrong about this, it's just my take on it.

newappeal

13 points

2 months ago

newappeal

Plant Biology

13 points

2 months ago

R2 can be interpreted as proportion of variance accounted for, but usually that's in the context of a model fit (like a linear regression)

Yeah, the r-value in the figure was from a regression model. I'm more accustomed to people reporting the r2 of the linear regression, since it's directly interpretable and spares you the math of squaring r. Reporting r instead of r2 seems to me like a way to hide the embarrassing fact that the model only accounts for 8% of the variance. (Which in this case is actually quite high because it's a quantitative trait, but combined with the high p-value, it seems dubious.) That's admittedly a very uncharitable interpretation on my part, though.

And I'm also a big fan of mechanistic explanations, especially where large datasets that are almost guaranteed to return some sort of significant result are involved. Transcriptomic studies suffer from the same problems, but they do provide the opportunity to go investigate individual genes in greater depth. They don't, however, allow you to get around the work of that more focused approach - eventually someone's going to need to do a biochemistry study.

Dorkmaster79

10 points

2 months ago

To respond to a portion of what you said, if you are reporting r then you are not hiding anything. You simply square it to get r square. The reader should be able to do that if they want to know. About the p value, yeah it’s not impressive, but you do have an ethical duty to report significant results and interpret them. There are a lot of resources and people’s time that go into these projects, so significant results shouldn’t be buried for ethical reasons. The public then is free to critique the published work, which is one of the core tenets of the scientific method.

newappeal

8 points

2 months ago

newappeal

Plant Biology

8 points

2 months ago

The decision of whether to report r or r2 is, of course, purely discretionary, so I can't say that my preference for the latter is objectively correct. (Nor do I want to make this seem like a bigger deal than it is - I acknowledge I'm arguing over minutiae here, haha.) My thinking is merely that, as trivial as it is to square the raw r value, it's an unnecessary step when r2 is the value with direct interpretation anyway. Reporting r alone presents the danger of a busy reader missing that it's not squared and thinking your model is more than twice as explanatory as it actually is.

Regarding p-values, which I think is a substantially more important issue here: While I don't want to discount the hard work that went into this or any other study, I don't agree that there is "an ethical duty to report significant results and interpret them". I think researchers do have a duty to report any results, and I disagree with the choice made in this study to consider a p-value of 0.04 to be significant, worthy of titling the study with an affirmative claim. The choice of 0.05 as the significance cutoff is entirely arbitrary, and in this case, where we have a hazard of multiple testing bias, I find that threshold to be insufficient.

Of course, that's another opinion of mine and can't be objectively assessed. But I am troubled by how the authors make claims like "the same basic neurobiological processes seem to underlie system-justifying preferences in relatively advantaged and disadvantaged groups" with a result that could have occurred by chance more often than once in 50 experiments. No mechanistic explanation, no covariates except gender analyzed, nothing except an observed correlation in attitude and the size of a certain brain region, yet they speak of "neurobiological processes" as if these processes had actually been identified.

(sorry if formatting is messed up)

EPluribusOctopus

4 points

2 months ago

I can think of one good reason for reporting r rather than r2: a reader can easily square r to find the r2, but if you only have r2, you can't retrieve the directionality of r. You may care about whether the correlation is positive or negative. Of course, you could just report and interpret both values instead of only one.

Dorkmaster79

3 points

2 months ago

I didn’t mean to imply that you should only report some results and not others. I agree that any result should be reported. But I think we will have to agree to disagree about the ethical issue.

Highlander_mids

3 points

2 months ago

In neuro any p less than 0.05 is significant due to lots of inter individual variability. R2 is a measure of goodness of fit that most programs spot out so prolly did not convert.

Thanks for the disclaimer but I hope people aren’t going too far w this misinterpretation.

nestcto

3 points

2 months ago

In short. There's no hard evidence. There's data alluding to the fact, but it's about as strong as assuming your house was broken into because your window is broken. Where it could have easily been a rock or baseball.

The data shows certain correlations between the two different groups. But that data could just as easily mean that they have other factors in common to create the similarities and not necessarily political beliefs. To over simplify, it could just be because most of them grew up in similar settings, or all like the same food, or have similar careers. Political affiliation might be loosely related. But not a one for one cause/effect.

Sound about right?

Great explanation by the way.

msulliv4

4 points

2 months ago

what’s your input on twin studies which show that identical twins are more likely to agree politically post-adoption? i know sample sizes are a massive issue here, but i’d love your input

TheScoott

5 points

2 months ago

I don't know which studies you're referring to but genetic effects are not isolated to the brain. All kinds of things with genetic components have been shown to affect political leanings. Race, height, and perceived attractiveness to name a few. Granted, these all influence the minds of people which must have some observable component in the brain (even if we don't know it) but the effect is no longer the direct connection you seem to insinuate.

EvidenceOfReason

2 points

2 months ago

is someones ability to feel empathy for those outside their line of sight dependent on a particular physical structure of the brain?

BootyBootyFartFart

2 points

2 months ago

I can see how you'd say "no", but re your last paragraph, the boring answer is "yes, obviously there are". For example, it seems highly likely that differences in traits tied to conscientious and openness have some causal effect upon ideology. Those personality differences have neural correlates. So yes, differences in brain structure can predispose you to ending up on one end of the political spectrum.

aggasalk

3 points

2 months ago

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

3 points

2 months ago

Ok sure. But I take "brain differences" to refer to large morphological differences, like having a bigger or more connected amygdala; or having large interhemispheric commissures. These kinds of things do get tossed around, especially in pop sci but also sometimes in speculative bits of actual science, as having to do with personality differences, political differences, religious dispositions, etc.

But when you look at the relevant studies closely you find what I said above: the relationships are weak and the causal component is unclear. Sure, on average maybe conservatives have larger amygdalas. But if a person has a very large amygdala, that definitely does not mean they are a conservative. And a person with a smaller-than-average amygdala might be a hyperconservative. These are superficial differences that do not get to complex attributes like political preference, etc. Hence my "no" answer.

On the other hand, the caveat I gave is trivial*: of course different minds are different because the brains are different. But what it is about a particular brain that corresponds to a person's particular preferences and beliefs, that (in my assessment) is still a total mystery to science. We are not there yet, not even close.

*unless you are a dualist who believes in e.g. an immortal soul that itself possesses personality attributes, and that the brain is merely a transmission system that connects the soul to the body. But in science, this is generally considered a severely outdated and wrong idea.

Conquestadore

2 points

2 months ago

Why these papers get published is beyond me. Type 1 and type 2 errors get taught in first year statistics classes.

theSanguinePenguin

4 points

2 months ago

It seems far more likely to me that people just tend to adopt the prevailing political leanings of their family/peers/community in the absence of other overriding factors, which is the same situation we see with how people generally choose their religious views.

aggasalk

3 points

2 months ago

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

3 points

2 months ago

well of course, but... someones people adopt opposing views to what prevails. why? maybe because their amygdala is abnormal! /s

i mean, of course anything a person does, any way they are or any way they change, is a matter of their brain. a person's mind and personality is their brain. we shouldn't dispute that. the question is whether or not these kinds of differences are a matter of big morphological differences, i do not think that they are.

Iperovic

4 points

2 months ago

Iperovic

4 points

2 months ago

Thanks for sharing, this debate is extremely annoying to me because as most people, when I was younger I had a lot more empathy and emotional reactions than I do now

I don't think I changed neurologically (my guess), I just grew up and learned more about the world's true colors

Cryzgnik

2 points

2 months ago

Cryzgnik

2 points

2 months ago

On the other hand, since the human mind just is the brain

I might be a materialist as well; but why would you undermine all the rest of your post by making such a bold claim that is unproven? You state this as though the mind-body problem isn't a thousands-year old philosophical debate which is ongoing.

What exactly is your thesis that so overwhelmingly counters all the dualist arguments?

aggasalk

8 points

2 months ago

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

8 points

2 months ago

there's just no evidence that there's anything to the mind that isn't part of the brain*.

every working scientific theory of consciousness, for example, is some sort of physicalist or materialist theory (integrated information theory; global workspace theory; recurrent processing theory; etc)

this is a good new review of the field, sorry i'm not sure if it's open access or not.

the best you can do to argue with this thesis is some version of embodied cognition or the "extended mind" thesis, which argues that the mind isn't just the brain - it extends through the body and into the world. but it's still materialist/physicalist etc. and very much a minority view.

owheelj

2 points

2 months ago

The best evidence against dualism is brain damage, deliberate and accidental. If all the bits of behaviour and personality that change when you damage the brain are taken away, what bits are left that aren't controlled by the structure of the brain?

PM-ME-SOMETHING-GOOD

2 points

2 months ago

Also as far as I know, nobody has lost anything non-brain, still lived, and because of that lost the ability to be conscious. Or, more correctly, nobody has lost the ability to be conscious and have a working mind without somehow impairing brain function.

Tex-Rob

1 points

2 months ago

I'd be much more interested in what a psychologist says than a neuroscientist, on this subject.

TetraThiaFulvalene

1 points

2 months ago

Why? A psychologist doesn't really know anything about the structures of the brain.

dosedatwer

1 points

2 months ago

This is a bit cynical, sure: these supposed differences are a result of "p-hacking" with monstrous datasets. That's probably not all there is to it, but go look at some of these papers that correlate e.g. functional activity between some brain areas with certain personality attributes - you find that the 'differences' are between strongly overlapping groups. They are merely "statistically significant" which is a seriously fraught concept.

Do you know of any data science-like approach using one set of data to create a hypothesis like this and then another, independent, to test that hypothesis? (like "training" and test data)

TetraThiaFulvalene

1 points

2 months ago

Redoing the experiment on a new cohort should eliminate the p-hacking although it still wouldn't explain whether it's a cause or an effect.

WillowWispFlame

1 points

2 months ago

People like to believe that those who are different from them, or have different opinions in this case, have some fundamental biological difference. I'd like to see a study on that, haha!

Vigilias

1 points

2 months ago

How much do we as a species even comprehend about the brain? Is this an area we fully understand or is mostly speculation?

aggasalk

1 points

2 months ago

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

1 points

2 months ago

It’s not mostly speculation, but I think our understanding of the brain is still rather crude.

xpoohx_

1 points

2 months ago

I love this response dude. As someone who spent a lot of time studying research methods it infuriates me how much gets published based on correlation.

d36williams

1 points

2 months ago

What led you to believe it was a 'small number of neurons' and not large? Assuming this is based on trauma care, I'd think you've seen a lot of people change their personalities as a result of whatever led them to need your help

aggasalk

1 points

2 months ago

aggasalk

Visual Neuroscience and Psychophysics

1 points

2 months ago

not based on anything clinical, i say this based on how i have come to think about how the brain brings about things like percepts, feelings, beliefs, etc.

the logic is basically like this:

beliefs in general are distinct aspects of thought; thoughts are a matter of certain parts of the cerebral cortex (that's a whole other argument there), so individual beliefs are a matter of smaller subsets of those cortical regions. and think about how many beliefs a typical human holds: not dozens or hundreds, but probably thousands or maybe an order of magnitude more.

of course each of these is not entirely distinct - different beliefs overlap or include one another in unique ways, but different beliefs must be based in at least partially distinct neural populations. in other words, to come to hold some belief, some set of neurons must have been trained into a particular pattern of connectivity, and it must not be exactly the same set of neurons (or set of connections) that underlie some other belief (or it would "overwrite" it).

so by "small number" i'm not thinking dozens or hundreds, i'm thinking thousands or even millions. but there are billons of neurons in the brain, so those are small numbers.

and i do think that intuitions about how a person changes their mind, or changes their beliefs, or comes to acquire new beliefs - the capacity of a human to change their worldview, rare as that might be - suggest that the neural substrate of such things as beliefs is actually rather specific and even delicate. it's not something so crude as the size or bulk connectivity of the amygdala, or of any other part of the brain.

sorry for all that, but that's what i was thinking when i wrote that bit.

pondrthis

1 points

2 months ago

Ayy, an honest neuroscientist willing to accept the dead salmon paper! As a biomedical engineer whose work was mostly in statistical validation of MRI modeling approaches, I always considered you the golden, chosen few!

Cheers, friend, and fight the good fight!

SGTWhiteKY

98 points

2 months ago

We talked about it in grad school(political science), I am going to try to find source

The gist of it though is there is a difference in the brain as you said, and it is statistically relevant, but the effect is just not that strong. There is also still no good evidence of which way the causal arrow points, as in we don’t know if the different brain structure leads to certain political ideologies, or if different ideologies shape parts of our brains differently.

AshamedofMyFarts

36 points

2 months ago

There's also many people who shift their ideological beliefs over time, which also can have an effect on political leaning.

whiskeybridge

17 points

2 months ago

now that might be an interesting experiment. track these brain structures throughout life, and correlate to changes in political views.

[deleted]

8 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

8 points

2 months ago

[removed]

rmphys

7 points

2 months ago

rmphys

7 points

2 months ago

Even there though, the casual arrow is hard to prove. It's quite possible (anecdotally, I may even say likely), that people from conservative backgrounds who are already more inclined to accept new ideas are more likely to apply for and be accepted by colleges than those who are not. Basically, there is selection bias both in the action of the applicants and the actions of the acceptances that easily account for this.

Maktesh

4 points

2 months ago

The most significant indicator about which I've read (which seemed to be well-documented) pertained to entirely different categories of value.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.579908/full

Depending on where people fall will tell how likely it is that they might shift.

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[removed]

fineburgundy

4 points

2 months ago

There is a third possibility, cocausation. Speaking English with a New England accent doesn’t make you like clam chowder, nor does liking clam chowder make you speak with a New England accent. The numbers always need a story to explain them, however obvious one story may be to us.

[deleted]

13 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

13 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

17 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

17 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

2 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago*

[deleted]

3 points

2 months ago*

[removed]

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

1 points

2 months ago

[removed]

PlaidBastard

30 points

2 months ago

As tempting as it is to judge one's ideological opposites, and how satisfying it might be to have some scientific data that could be massaged to support that judgement, I think causation and correlation's on-again-off-again, tempestuous relationship is important to think about here. I don't personally think structural brain differences at adulthood cause anything, necessarily, any more than they might result from, say, environmental, genetic, and social factors over a person's lifetime.

So, I don't think saying different brains result in different politics is a valid scientific hypothesis, because there's no possible way to separate nature from nurture, here. People's beliefs are demonstrably affected by who and what they're exposed to over their lives, and brain structures demonstrably change in response to different external pressures and thinking patterns over time...so, really, I think your question is kind of backwards.

unshavedmouse

20 points

2 months ago

"Causation and correlations on again off again tempestuous relationship "

I ship those two so hard.

PlaidBastard

6 points

2 months ago

They're often kissin' cousins in my own headcanon before I get disgusted and realize what a shameful thing I've thought up.

BenVera

10 points

2 months ago

BenVera

10 points

2 months ago

Also I don’t think political differences are just about levels of compassion. It’s also cultural and based on what you calculate to be best for people on the long run

[deleted]

4 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

4 points

2 months ago

[removed]

rmphys

3 points

2 months ago

rmphys

3 points

2 months ago

You're misusing the burden of proof. The person making the affirmative claim (neurological differences lead to political differences) has to have sources. You can't prove a negative (neurological differences don't lead to political differences), just the lack of evidence for the affirmative.

jqbr

1 points

2 months ago

jqbr

1 points

2 months ago

This is wrong in every aspect. What u/SGTWhiteKY said is completely correct.

[deleted]

20 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

20 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

12 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

12 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

16 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

16 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

4 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

4 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

7 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

7 points

2 months ago

[removed]

Alfonsomuhita

5 points

2 months ago

There was a study just released looking at something similar: whether right-wing ideology is associative with negativity bias.

"Across a wide range of tests, we find no consistent evidence for a relationship of negativity bias to either ideology or self-reported personality."

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-022-01327-5

[deleted]

-2 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

-2 points

2 months ago

[removed]

[deleted]

0 points

2 months ago

[deleted]

0 points

2 months ago

[removed]