Neurocognitive Correlates of Liberalism & Conservatism

Of possible interest in this month’s Nature Neuroscience:

Political scientists and psychologists have noted that, on average, conservatives show more structured and persistent cognitive styles, whereas liberals are more responsive to informational complexity, ambiguity and novelty. We tested the hypothesis that these profiles relate to differences in general neurocognitive functioning using event-related potentials, and found that greater liberalism was associated with stronger conflict-related anterior cingulate activity, suggesting greater neurocognitive sensitivity to cues for altering a habitual response pattern.

One conclusion in relatively plain English …

“This association suggests that a more conservative orientation is related to greater persistence in a habitual response pattern, despite signals that this response pattern should change.”

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