[Ryota Kanai, Tom Feilden, Colin Firth, and Geraint Rees: "Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults," Current Biology, Apr. 7, 2011]


Substantial differences exist in the cognitive styles of liberals and conservatives on psychological measures [1]. Variability in political attitudes reflects genetic influences and their interaction with environmental factors [2 and 3]. Recent work has shown a correlation between liberalism and conflict-related activity measured by event-related potentials originating in the anterior cingulate cortex [4]. Here we show that this functional correlate of political attitudes has a counterpart in brain structure. In a large sample of young adults, we related self-reported political attitudes to gray matter volume using structural MRI. We found that greater liberalism was associated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas greater conservatism was associated with increased volume of the right amygdala. These results were replicated in an independent sample of additional participants. Our findings extend previous observations that political attitudes reflect differences in self-regulatory conflict monitoring [4] and recognition of emotional faces [5] by showing that such attitudes are reflected in human brain structure. Although our data do not determine whether these regions play a causal role in the formation of political attitudes, they converge with previous work [4 and 6] to suggest a possible link between brain structure and psychological mechanisms that mediate political attitudes.


1. Jost, J.T., Glaser, J., Kruglanski, A.W., and Sulloway, F.J. (2003). Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychol. Bull. 129, 339?375.
2. Alford, J., Funk, C., and Hibbing, J. (2005). Are political orientations genetically transmitted? Am. Polit. Sci. Rev. 99, 153?167.
3. Settle, J.E., Dawes, C.T., Christakis, N.A., and Fowler, J.H. (2010). Friendships moderate an association between a dopamine gene variant and political ideology. J. Polit. 72, 1189?1198.
4. Amodio, D.M., Jost, J.T., Master, S.L., and Yee, C.M. (2007). Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism. Nat. Neurosci. 10, 1246?1247.
5. Vigil, J.M. (2010). Political leanings vary with facial expression processing and psychosocial functioning. Group Process. Intergroup Relat. 13, 547?558.
このKanai et al.[2011]は、保守よりもリベラルが、不確実性と紛争コンフリクトへの寛容度が高いと示唆している。
For example, our findings are consistent with the proposal that political orientation is associated with psychological processes for managing fear and uncertainty[1, 10]. The amygdala has many functions, including fear processing[11]. Individuals with a larger amygdala are more sensitive to fear[12], which, taken together with our findings, might suggest the testable hypothesis that individuals with larger amagdala are more inclined to integrate conservative views into their belief systems. Similarly, it is striking that conservatives are more sensitive to disgust [13, 14], and the insula is involved in the feeling of disgust [15]. On the other hand, our ?nding of an association between anterior cingulate cortex volume and political attitudes may be linked with tolerance to uncertainty. One of the functions of the anterior cingulate cortex is to monitor uncertainty [16, 17] and con?icts [18]. Thus, it is conceivable that individuals with a larger ACC have a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and con?icts, allowing them to accept more liberal views.


[10] Jost, J.T., Napier, J.L., Thorisdottir, H., Gosling, S.D., Palfai, T.P., and Osta?n, B. (2007). Are needs to manage uncertainty and threat associated with political conservatism or ideological extremity? Pers. Soc.
Psychol. Bull. 33, 989?1007.
[11] Adolphs, R., Tranel, D., Damasio, H., and Damasio, A.R. (1995). Fear and the human amygdala. J. Neurosci. 15, 5879?5891.
[12] van der Plas, E.A.A., Boes, A.D., Wemmie, J.A., Tranel, D., and Nopoulos, P. (2010). Amygdala volume correlates positively with fearfulness in normal healthy girls. Soc. Cogn. Affect. Neurosci. 5, 424?431.
[13] Hodson, G., and Costello, K. (2007). Interpersonal disgust, ideological orientations, and dehumanization as predictors of intergroup attitudes. Psychol. Sci. 18, 691?698.
[14] Inbar, Y., Pizarro, D.A., and Bloom, P. (2009). Conservatives are more easily disgusted than liberals. Cogn. Emotion 23, 714?725.
[15] Wicker, B., Keysers, C., Plailly, J., Royet, J.P., Gallese, V., and Rizzolatti, G. (2003). Both of us disgusted in My insula: The common neural basis of seeing and feeling disgust. Neuron 40, 655?664.
[16] Critchley, H.D., Mathias, C.J., and Dolan, R.J. (2001). Neural activity in the human brain relating to uncertainty and arousal during anticipation. Neuron 29, 537?545.
[17] Kennerley, S.W., Walton, M.E., Behrens, T.E., Buckley, M.J., and Rushworth, M.F. (2006). Optimal decision making and the anterior cingulate cortex. Nat. Neurosci. 9, 940?947.
[18] Botvinick, M., Nystrom, L.E., Fissell, K., Carter, C.S., and Cohen, J.D. (1999). Con?ict monitoring versus selection-for-action in anterior cingulate cortex. Nature 402, 179?181.
[Natalie J. Shooka, and Russell H. Fazio: "Political ideology, exploration of novel stimuli, and attitude formation", Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 45, Issue 4, July 2009, Pages 995?998]


In this study, the relations among political ideology, exploratory behavior, and the formation of attitudes toward novel stimuli were explored. Participants played a computer game that required learning whether these stimuli produced positive or negative outcomes. Learning was dependent on participants’ decisions to sample novel stimuli and discover the associated valence. Political ideology correlated with exploration during the game, with conservatives sampling fewer targets than liberals. Moreover, more conservative individuals exhibited a stronger learning asymmetry, such that they learned negative stimuli better than positive. Mediational analyses revealed that the differences in learning were due to the extent of exploratory behavior during the game. Relative to liberals, politically conservative individuals pursued a more avoidant strategy to the game, which led to their development of a more pronounced valence
asymmetry in learning and attitude formation.

[Natalie J. Shook and Russ Clay: "Valence Asymmetry in Attitude Formation -- A Correlate of Political Ideology", Social Psychological and Personality Science November 2011 vol. 2 no. 6 650-655]


A considerable amount of research indicates that political conservatives and liberals perceive their social worlds very differently, with conservatives perceiving the world more negatively than liberals. Two studies examined how these varying perceptions may develop by exploring the relation between political ideology and attitude formation. In both studies, participants completed an evaluative conditioning paradigm in which novel stimuli were paired with either positive or negative images. Political conservatives were more susceptible to conditioning with negative stimuli than conditioning with positive stimuli as compared to political liberals. Specifically, conservatives were less susceptible to conditioning with positive stimuli than liberals. Conditioning with negative stimuli did not differ by political ideology. These findings suggest fundamental differences in the formation of positive versus negative attitudes between conservatives and liberals.



posted by Kumicit at 2013/06/29 11:43 | Comment(1) | TrackBack(0) | Others | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする
 ところで,文中の "conflict" は「紛争」よりも(情報処理における)「衝突」「不一致」と訳しておく方が,誤解が少ないのではないかと思います.
Posted by optical_frog at 2013/06/30 03:19



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