Friday, April 8, 2011

The Fraternity of the Amygdala

What do the following people have in common?

From top: former US President George W. Bush, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Munawwar Hasan, Dutch MP Geert Wilders, former Australian PM John Howard, Nawai Waqt owner Majid Nizami, The News' Editor Investigations Ansar Abbasi, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, former British PM Margaret Thatcher, US Pastor Terry Jones, anti-'Ground Zero Mosque' campaigner Pam Geller, former ISI chief Lt. Gen (retd) Hamid Gul, media personality Zaid Hamid, Indian Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, political analyst Shireen Mazari, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat, and US politician Sarah Palin 

No, it's not what you're thinking, though that's true as well.

They all apparently have large right amygdalas (or amygdalae to the more semantically correct).

Finally, thanks to the latest brain-mapping research, publicized in the papers today, we can understand what it  is that sets these folks apart.

According to the AFP report published in Dawn today:

Brain structure differs in liberals, conservatives: study
WASHINGTON — Everyone knows that liberals and conservatives butt heads when it comes to world views, but scientists have now shown that their brains are actually built differently.
Liberals have more gray matter in a part of the brain associated with understanding complexity, while the conservative brain is bigger in the section related to processing fear, said the study on Thursday in Current Biology.
"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," the study said.
Other research has shown greater brain activity in those areas, according to which political views a person holds, but this is the first study to show a physical difference in size in the same regions.
"Previously, some psychological traits were known to be predictive of an individual's political orientation," said Ryota Kanai of the University College London, where the research took place. "Our study now links such personality traits with specific brain structure."
The study was based on 90 "healthy young adults" who reported their political views on a scale of one to five from very liberal to very conservative, then agreed to have their brains scanned.
People with a large amygdala are "more sensitive to disgust" and tend to "respond to threatening situations with more aggression than do liberals and are more sensitive to threatening facial expressions," the study said.
Liberals are linked to larger anterior cingulate cortexes, a region that "monitor(s) uncertainty and conflicts," it said. "Thus, it is conceivable that individuals with a larger ACC have a higher capacity to tolerate uncertainty and conflicts, allowing them to accept more liberal views."
It remains unclear whether the structural differences cause the divergence in political views, or are the effect of them.
But the central issue in determining political views appears to revolve around fear and how it affects a person.
"Our findings are consistent with the proposal that political orientation is associated with psychological processes for managing fear and uncertainty," the study said."

Yup, like little reptiles baring their poisonous fangs, they're just scared.

I can also see 'Is your anterior cingulate cortex well developed?' becoming a standard pick-up line.


gotham3 said...

ha ha ah a very mazedar post....this study wa slong overdue.

Delirium said...

So having all said and done it is the piece of ACC & not ASS that makes all the difference in thought, utterance and action?

Just wonder what more scientific research would lead us into believing!

observer said...

Did Afridi mean to say that 'we' (whoever) are endowed with bigger right amygdalae by any chance?

TightDhoti said...

yet we believe that propaganda can do the job

Anonymous said...

I believe that the amigdala increases in size to compensate for the "little"ness of something else ... ehem ehem....

NarayaN said...

Seriously --- "The study was based on 90 healthy young adults.. " Ninety .. 90 .. and that's enough for these 'researchers' to generalize.
And, I keep wondering why Pakistanis are so prone to zombi-sm induced by Islam-ism. Ah, us dirty kuffar polytheists & atheists - we tend to question.
If this is what goes in your website for 'scientific research' - I don't see much of a difference between your team & Maududi, Alwalaki & their ilk. You might as well blindly believe the earth is like a 'carpet' & the sun sets in murky waters under the throne of Hubal - the Pagan Moon god of the ancient Arabs.
lol. Ooops - it's your Friday - the most *peace-ful* time for 'Religion of Peace'-niks. Ah, us dirty kufar hindooos - with our big brains - filled with fear (of allah s-w-t.. lol..)

TLW said...

Narayan, if you imply your brain is less propaganda addled, why does base line English grammar present a problem for you?

TLW said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TLW said...

Good post XYZ. It's a nice list you've assembled of all the little demons that've been plagued us over the last decade. Add Osama Bin Ladin to the list and its complete. Nice to know they all look at the world through fear tinted glasses.

And for the job of assembling such a large line of pictures on blogspot, difficult job, but gracias for doing it.

Anonymous said...

LOOOL cracked me up

Anonymous said...

"However, the amygdala is not necessary for the processing of fear-related stimuli, since persons in whom it is bilaterally damaged show rapid reactions to fearful faces, even in the absence of a functional amygdala". Didn't anyone bother to read the entire Wikipedia entry?. And interpreting scientific research is clearly not your forte.

ibrahim M Khalil said...

So naïve of you guys...ha ha ha

Your liberal godfather Obama is implementing the same policies and actions as conservative Bush. The only difference being that Bush had the courage to state his policies whereas the liberals do it quietly.

Nothing changed in Iraq, Afghanistan, no support for freedom in Bahrain or Egypt nor any move to closing down on freedoms in US, Guantanamo Bay, treatment of Bradley Manning.

Your whole argument falls like a house of cards.

TLW said...

Bastards who ruin our lives are under threat though. Good enough.

Saad said...

Haha brilliant!

I suppose this answers the question of liberals populating the academics that Ahsan Butt asked in his blog. Such a beautifully simple answer: it's because they're smarter!

annie said...

i know the post is in jest but many of your commenters have taken it seriously. how is this different from scientific research that showed the superiority of 'the master race'. and then these limo-liberals balk when they are called fascits...pffft..your acc might be large but reasoning capacities seem very small. the arrogance of certain liberals is a bad name to the rest of them (us) and it is these idiots along with their counterparts in the right that will never let civil discourse happen.

happy living on your hot air and condescension. now you have "research" to support your superiority complex

NarayaN said...

"Narayan, if you imply your brain is less propaganda addled, why does base line English grammar present a problem for you?"
What's the link between propaganda addled brain v/s base line English grammar skills? Are they inversely proportional to each other?
Can a brain that's more affected by propaganda automatically have good English grammar skills?
I'm only mocking the fact that an experiment conducted on mere 90 individuals can be used to justify such senseless generalization/s. On the one hand we have this - where a mere 90 individuals were tested & the results generalized. On the other hand, we have 9000 people that have indulged in horrible murder (others or self) while shouting Allahu-akbar - and if someone generalizes that people that shout 'Allahu-akbar' are more susceptible to becoming terrorists - one will be termed ______.
And, in proper English terms, that is called _________________________.