Darren Schreiber, a political neuroscientist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, first performed brain scans on 82 people participating in a risky gambling task, one in which holding out for more money increases your possible rewards, but also your possible losses. Later, cross-referencing the findings with the participants’ publicly available political party registration information, Schreiber noticed something astonishing: Republicans, when they took the same gambling risk, were activating a different part of the brain than Democrats.
Republicans were using the right amygdala, the center of the brain’s threat response system. Democrats, in contrast, were using the insula, involved in internal monitoring of one’s feelings. Amazingly, Schreiber and his colleagues write that this test predicted 82.9 percent of the study subjects’ political party choices — considerably better, they note, than a simple model that predicts your political party affiliation based on the affiliation of your parents.
When you consider what hereditarian realism makes of “the affiliation of your parents” (with its massive confounding effect when brought into comparison with neurological characteristics) the level of correlation looks even more preposterous.
(The insula sounds like an intrinsically leftist neurological structure, I mean — does ‘feels monitoring’ really count as doing anything? Radical insulectomy in exchange for blockchain credits and Neocameral residency privileges has to be worth a test.)