Thursday, October 18, 2012

Liberal Brain/Conservative Brain

I admit it - I am fascinated by the newest and latest research on the human brain. We are learning so much, so fast about why we are, who we are, why we think, love, talk, walk and do so many things good, bad, brilliant and deplorable. Some of the latest research in this election year is about what might make us either liberal or conservative when it comes to both our politics and our social interactions.

Long term studies of preschool assessments are showing that children noted to be expressive, gregarious and impulsive were more likely to grow up to be liberals. While future conservatives were more inhibited, uncertain and controlled. A mixed bag assessment for both groups. Conservatives to be were also children who were more organized, stable and thrifty; while the emerging liberals were more impulsive, indecisive and often irresponsible. 

Ambiguity was not a troubling issue for the liberal youngsters but often troubled the organized conservative kids. A stronger more limited moral code was seen in conservative kids, while liberal youths were more open to a variety of interpretations of right versus wrong.

What does this all mean?

It appears when both potential life styles show themselves early but are influenced by parents, schooling and other societal influences. Once set, however, the viewpoints tend to solidify as do other "adult" traits. Yet when viewed through the lens of brain research we can perhaps see from whence we evolved and consider the choices we made and those that were made for us by others.

The potential for growth and change resides in each of us but often is held rigidly by decisions made long before we were able to reason as an individual and make the choices that caste us as who we want to be rather than who others wished us to be.

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