Can someone’s brain chemistry determine their political ideology?

By Leroy Cleveland - July 31, 2022

“Can we understand political behavior by looking solely at the brain?,” queried co-author Skyler Cranmer, a Phillips and Henry Professor of Political Science at Ohio State, via StudyFinds.

His answer is a fairly strong ‘yes.’”

“The results suggest that the biological and neurological roots of political behavior run much deeper than we previously thought.”

Interestingly, the scientists analyzed MRI scans and insist they found strong connections between those scans and how participants answered questions measuring their political ideology on a six-point scale — from “very liberal” to “very conservative.”

“Even without any stimulus at all, functional connectivity in the brain can help us predict a person’s political orientation,” said co-author James Wilson, assistant professor of psychiatry and biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, via StudyFinds.

More on about the tests is on StudyFinds.

The article doesn’t address those who change ideologies throughout their lifetime. For example, I’m a moderate but have been both liberal and conservative.

Perhaps the brain tests are relevant when all other elements are equal, such as one’s education, environment, upbringing, and situations they’ve encountered.

For instance, let’s say Jane Doe was raised conservative and had always been unsympathetic to those without healthcare coverage, insisting they were lazy and undeserving.

Jane, through no fault of her own, gets laid off from work and losses health insurance that had previously been covered by her employer. While still out of work, she gets very sick. Her condition is curable but she needs surgery and a two-week stay at the hospital.

Jane eventually gets the treatment she needed – And will likely have an altered view of those without coverage as well as the U.S. healthcare system in general. In fact, that lone experience may change her entire worldview ideologically.

Please share your thoughts below. What most determines someone’s political ideology?

Tags: politics, research