Politically predetermined? Your brain on politics
(CBS News) Editor's note: "In the above animation, the temporal lobe is highlighted. It should be the Inferior Frontal Gyrus.
Researchers are offering an explanation for the seemingly endless Congressional gridlock: the brains of Democrats and Republicans could simply be wired differently.
Professor Roger Newman-Norlund, of the University of South Carolina, recently conducted a study to compare brain scans of a group of 12 Democrats and Republicans and discussed his findings Wednesday on "CBS This Morning."
Newman-Norlund explained that the MRI showed disparities in brain activity in the "one particular brain network that we know is involved in social interactions."
"Generally speaking, Democrats tend to value the connections they have with their friends and with the world, so think Facebook and the world around you," he said.
"And Republicans tend to place more value on the social connections they have with their family and the nation."
So while the study generally indicated that Republicans "have a preference for these tight social connections" and "Democrats for the broad social connections," Newman-Norlund said "which party you actually choose to identify with ... [is] more of a nuture thing. So that's more what your parents were, for example."
Still, political neuroscience could explain the intensity with which citizens identify with their respective party.
"The strength of your convictions, whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, that seems to be genetically driven," Newman-Norlund said, before adding, "That's where we found our differences between Republicans and Democrats."
For more from Newman-Norlund on the future of brain studies and political neuroscience, watch the video above.
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