Left Brain, Liberal Right Brain
Hemisphericity Theory of Political Orientation
have talked a lot about the political and religious significance of
the catecholamine neurotransmitters, dopamine and noradrenaline--but
have scarcely mentioned the amino acids, which are the most common neurotransmitters
in the central nervous system. The two main amino acids are glutamate,
which is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter, and gamma-aminobutyric
acid (GABA), which is the primary inhibitor.
there is a good reason we have left glutamate and GABA out of our neuropolitical
discussions--the amino acid neurotransmitters are not systematized
as are dopamine and noradrenaline, that is, they are not organized into
functionally and anatomically cohesive networks. On the other hand,
the dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems have a significant degree
of functional and anatomical cohesiveness, and corresponding behavioral
and cognitive specificity, along with corresponding impacts on autonomic
nervous system functions to support the respective behaviors they promote.
we have proposed in a variety of articles on this website, the
organized dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurotransmitter systems are
highly active in contributing to many of the behavioral and cognitive
variations in Conservatives and Liberals.
dopaminergic system is divided into several major subsystems
that activate various cortical and subcortical structures to facilitate
the initiation and termination of motor control, along with the hotly
political behaviors of reward-seeking and reward-anticipation,
approach, exploration, along with the general prefrontal
executive activities such as behavioral planning and working memory
noradrenergic system is also divided into subsystems, activating
various cortical and subcortical regions, and facilitating selective
attention, analysis of novel and threatening stimuli, behavioral inhibition,
negative emotional arousal (particularly in the ascending projection
of the locus coeruleus), and, like it's close cousin dopamine, general
prefrontal executive functions of behavioral planning and working memory
dopaminergic and noradrenergic systems are proposed by Tucker and
Williamson to be asymmetrically distributed in left and right
hemispheres, respectively--engendering each hemisphere to specialize
in functionality. The cognitive and behavioral variations of the two
hemispheres have been well documented, most notably by Roger Sperry,
who won the Nobel prize for his split-brain research that exposed
the enormous degree of lateralization in left and right hemispheric
cognition. (See our earlier article, Conservative
Left Brain, Liberal Right Brain that highlights some of this
research). Conservatism and Liberalism would reflect the cognitive asymmetries
of the left and right hemispheres, respectively.
dopaminergic system, which is more activated in the left hemisphere,
would also provide a foundation for the evolution of language, which
would take advantage of dopamine's superior signal-to-noise ratio that
facilitates both the fine motor control required by speech and the semantic
demands of language.
the left hemisphere's linguistic evolution would further accentuate
the anatomical and physiological variations in symmetry found in primates
(and vertebrates in general). The human right brain is, on average,
slightly larger and heavier than the left brain, contains a lower gray
to white matter ratio, and exhibits a wider distribution of axonal components.
vertebrate brain is a paired-organ, and the brain halves support the
symmetrical lateralization of sensory-motor functions. Communication
and coordination between the two hemispheres is managed via the corpus
callosum, along with other structures such as the anterior and posterior
commissures. How the corpus collosum coordinates cerebral communication
has been the subject of much discussion.
the 1980s, Webster introduced the ungated callosal function
hypothesis, which proposed that each hemisphere is susceptible to
interference via the corpus callosum from homologous regions in the
contralateral hemisphere. In other words, the left hemisphere is interfering
with the operation of the right hemisphere, and vice-versa. Further,
the interference is waged by neuronal groups that reside in the same
location in both hemispheres via fibers that extend through the corpus
the role of the corpus callosum, which connects the cerebral cortices
of the two hemispheres and allows them to exchange information, was
also counter-proposed to facilitate an excitatory relationship between
the two brains. That is, activity in one hemisphere would generally
trigger corresponding activity in the other hemisphere.
Cook would merge these two theories with his topographic inhibitory
theory, proposing that a neural group on the one side of the brain
would inhibit the exact same neural group on the other side, at the
same time allowing adjacent neural activity to develop around the inhibited
contralateral neurons. The cognitive interpretation was that this served
to provide consciousness with an expanded or contextual view
of the selected target.
regards to political cognition, few regions of the brain have the political
impact of the orbitofrontal cortex, which is distributed bilaterally
(in both hemispheres).
Orbitofrontal Cortex: Moderating Reward-Seeking with Empathy and Regulating
orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), shown above, is commonly thought of as the
cortical executive of the emotional "limbic" system, and is
anatomically close to the amygdala, sharing close interconnections.
Lesions to the orbitofrontal cortex can result in sociopathic behavior
and the inability to resolve emotional states in others.
the functioning of the left and right OFCs are not symmetric. Lesions
to the left OFC can result in a reduction in reward-seeking behaviors,
and lesions to the right can result in an increase. The right and left
OFCs communicate with each other via the corpus callosum, but exhibit
more connectivity with neurons within their own hemisphere than from
left and right orbitofrontal cortices have evolved into a gate that
regulates personal reward-seeking in the context of social life. Evolution
has produced a neural network that regulates the needs of the individual
within social contexts.
dopaminergic and noradrenergic priming of the activity levels of the
left and right orbitofrontal cortices is not well understood, the overall
behavioral patterns of humans, and many mammals, indicate that variations
in the activities of these two neurotransmitter systems are impacting
the predisposition towards reward-seeking.
short, the dopaminergic system seems to be priming the OFC to favor
reward-seeking, and the noradrenergic system to favor inhibition
of reward-seeking in cases where it conflicts with empathy assessments.
In short, the right-brain is more oriented towards inhibition of reward-seeking,
and the left-brain is more oriented towards promoting it.
is no coincidence that the socio-economic events that pit reward-seeking
against empathy, such as oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge, draw a lot of attention from Conservatives and Liberals.
is not to say that Conservatives do not use empathy in self-regulation.
Conservatives adapt social inhibition mechanisms just like Liberals
do, but they are more likely to rely on non-empathetic behavioral inhibition
mechanisms, such as morality and religiosity. This was evident in our
Winter 2006 survey, when we asked the 1,616 respondents: How do
you make most of your political decisions?
for Political Decision Making (Green=Logic,
Concern, Yellow=Religion) (VL=Very Liberal,
L=Liberal, C=Conservative, VC=Very Conservative) (F=Female, M=Male)
we had a significant number of responses indicating logic (in
green), fMRI evidence has found that "logical"
neural networks, while activated by political topics, are heavily integrated
with the highly emotional "limbic" networks. "Logical"
and "emotional" neural networks are hard to separate even
during pure mathematical reasoning, let alone the emotionally charged
"political" cognition. Our current interpretation is that
the logic response is more closely related to reward-seeking.
However, we must state that we have no current direct evidence for this
Liberals were most likely to indicate social concern (in blue)
as their primary reason for political decision making. In contrast,
the Conservatives had very low rates of social concern. Conversely,
the Conservatives are more likely indicate morality (in red)
and religion (in yellow).
the orientation of the Liberals towards empathy in political decision
making is indicative of the stronger influence of the right orbitofrontal
cortex, the Liberals, on average, exhibit a general shift towards general
right hemispheric cognition. The Liberals, on average, have more ambiguous
cognitive styles, lower competitive profiles, lower rates of organized
religious beliefs, higher rates of spiritualism, higher susceptibility
towards depressive and anxious disorders, lower rates of self-confidence,
etc, etc, etc. All these traits are indicative of the greater influence
of the right hemisphere in Liberal behavior and cognition.
is due to the activated noradrenergic system in the right hemisphere,
impacting all the neural structures along the noradrenergic pathways,
along with the socially-concerned right orbitofrontal cortex. The Liberals
have adapted predominately right-hemispheric empathetic neural networks
to moderate reward-seeking in social contexts.
the Conservatives are not reliant on right-hemispheric empathetic neural
networks in regulating reward-seeking in social contexts, and
rely more on the dopaminergically activated left-hemispheric neural
networks involving the prefrontal (oriented towards morality)
and temporal (oriented towards religiosity) cortices to regulate
their social behavior.
empathy, morality, and religiosity are relatively
recent reward-seeking inhibitory mechanisms, they are actually
built upon the neural substrates of the oldest behavioral inhibition
mechanism--harm avoidance. Empathy, morality, and religiosity
have closely related but not completely identical neurological substrates,
and are all integrated with the neural networks responsible for harm
Theory of Tendencies
is only a theory of statistical tendencies. There are many "right-brained"
Conservatives and "left-brained" Liberals. Variations in environment,
neural anatomy and neural physiology are common, and a simple theory
of hemisphericity will not explain all political variation.
this theory fits the statistical modes of the cognitive data quite well,
and also accounts, via the positive impact of the sunlight and heat
on the dopaminergic system, for the anomalous socio-political behavior
of the caucasians as they descended from the higher latitudes of Europe
and into lower sun-drenched latitudes of the new world.
Not to be lost
in all of this is the adaptation of each hemisphere in regulating
personal reward-seeking in social contexts. Evolution has provided
humans with three additional reward-seeking inhibitory mechanisms--
empathy, morality, and religiosity, which are
distributed asymmetrically across the left and right hemispheres,
and which seem to promote different rates of fertility in different
is more indicative of the variations in Conservative and Liberal hemisphericity
as is cognitive unambiguity. The Conservative propensity towards
cognitive unambiguity is pronounced, and driven by the monosemantic
orientation of the left hemisphere. The Liberal tolerance of ambiguity
is driven by the polysemantic orientation of the right hemisphere.
As Roger Sperry
said in his Nobel lecture, "the same individual can be observed
to employ consistently one or the other of two distinct forms of mental
approach and strategy, much like two different people, depending on
whether the left or right hemisphere is in use."
it is not surprising that the left and right hemispheres have different
political orientations. But maybe humans knew this all along, as we
suspiciously chose the categorizations of "left" and "right"
to define political tendencies. After all, the "left" side
of the body is under the control of the right hemisphere, and
the "right" side is under the control of the left.
Research Center Survey and the Neuropolitics.org Depression Reports
In October through
November 2005, the Pew Research Center conducted a telephone survey
of 3,014 U.S. residents and found that Republicans, on average, are
happier than Democrats.
year, in March 2005, Neuropolitics.org conducted an internet survey
that found that Liberals were more likely to report depressive and
anxious disorders than were Conservatives. These results were published
on our website in May 2005. We conducted a follow-up survey in June
2005 to determine the specific anxiety and depressive illnesses by
political cohort, and published those results in our September and
October 2005 editions.
We are not sure
if our reports on depression and anxiety instigated the Pew Research
Center's "Happiness" survey, but they did report that "happiness"
correlated positively with residence in the southern latitudes of
2005, Neuropolitics.org introduced the Sunlight Theory of Political
Preference, which proposed that the enhanced sunlight intensity
of the lower latitudes was increasing the synthesis rates of testosterone,
estrogen, and subsequently the activation of the dopaminergic system,
which increases the propensity towards conservatism. The elevated
activation levels of the dopaminergic system would also account for
the elevated cognitive self-assessments of happiness in the
lower U.S. latitudes.
Brack and Zhang, April 2006
Conservatives and Liberals Organize Into Social Groups
Part 2: Inter-Group Competition
last month's edition, we presented evidence of an elevated Conservative
tendency to organize into hierarchical social groups. This tendency
increased with the strength of conservativism, and was more prominent
in Conservative males than in females.
also noted that Conservatives had a much higher social valuation of
the rich and powerful. They were more likely to consider
it a duty to support a president with contrary politics. The
Conservative males were more likely to participate in organized high
school sports. They were also more likely to own pack animals (dogs)
rather than territorial animals (cats).
contrast, the Liberals had a very negative social valuation of the rich
and powerful and were much less likely to consider it a duty
to support a politically contrary president. The males were less likely
to participate in organized high school sports. The Liberals were also
more likely to own territorial animals (cats) than pack animals
(dogs). Although we did not originally report it, this tendency
was pronounced in urban, suburban and rural areas.
the Conservative's positive valuation of the rich and powerful
occurs even if Conservatives hold lower social positions. We asked
the 1,616 respondents to our Winter 2006 survey where they ranked in
the chain of command at their workplace. We consolidated the responses
into Low cohorts (respondents indicating a lower than average
rank within their work hierarchy), and High cohorts (respondents
indicating a higher than average rank). Those respondents indicating
middle positions were not included in this analysis, although they follow
the same patterns.
Impact of Job Rank and Household Income on the Perception of the Rich
asked these respondents to evaluate whether the rich and powerful
provide jobs, take advantage of people, or both.
The Rich and Powerful (Red=Take
Advantage, Green=Provide Jobs, Blue=Both)
(VL=Very Liberal, L=Liberal, C=Conservative, VC=Very Conservative) (M=Male,
F=Female) (Low=Low Rank at Work, High=High Rank at Work)
we see in the above graph, rank at the workplace does not materially
change the overall perception of the rich and powerful
within political cohort. There is a slight improvement in the perception
of the rich and powerful by the high-ranking male
and female Liberals (as seen by the elevation in both versus
take advantage of people).
low-ranking Conservative females had a slightly better opinion
of the rich and powerful than the high-ranking females. The males
were the opposite, as the high-ranking had a slightly better
opinion. We must add that these small variations were not statistically
our Spring 2006 survey, we asked the 2,485 respondents a slightly different
question and controlled for income levels. This time we asked: Do
the rich...take more than they give, give more
than they take, or give and
take in equal proportions?
Do the rich...(Red=Take More, Green=Give
More, Blue=About Even) (L=Liberal, C=Conservative)
(M=Male, F=Female) (<50=Household Income under $50K, <130=Household
Income between $50-$130K, 130+=Household Income over $130K)
Liberals, regardless of their personal income levels, are consistent
in their negative opinions of the rich, as indicative of their "take
more than they give" responses (in red).
"Give more than they take" responses (in green)
were very rare among the Liberals. Remarkably, Liberal income levels
produce little variation in the perception of the rich. The Liberal
males with household incomes over $130K have a slight elevation in their
opinion of the rich.
Conservatives again had a much more positive view of the rich,
as they were, on average, split between "give more than they
take" and "about even", but still had a small
percentage of "take more than they give" responses.
Variations in personal household income would have almost no impact
on the opinions of Conservative females, but the Conservative males
would show a statistically significant shift towards a positive valuation
of the rich as their own personal incomes grew.
short, low-income Conservatives have as nearly a positive view of the
rich as do the rich Conservatives. The Conservative's more positive
view of the rich and powerful certainly stabilizes hierarchical
social groups and reduces conflict within those groups. It also provides
an executive control mechanism where the social leaders can exert more
influence on the behavior of the group. This is best seen in military
organizations, which tend to be very conservative.
Conservative Advantage in Workplace Hierarchies
Conservative's affinity for hierarchical social structures is also evident
by the Conservative's higher ascent within those organizations. From
our Winter 2006 survey, let's look at those responding that they ranked
higher than average in their workplace in the graph below.
Higher than Average Rank at the Workplace: (VL=Very Liberal, L=Liberal,
C=Conservative, VC=Very Conservative) (M=Male, F=Female)
of both genders, on average, ascended to higher levels within their
respective workplaces than did Liberals. Remarkably, this tendency increases
as one goes from left to right on the political spectrum. We must add
that in our Spring 2006 survey, we were not able to replicate the female
pattern. However, the male pattern was replicated. The
Conservative female's elevated ascent in hierarchical business organizations
is still much in doubt.
Fascism, and Communism
of anarchy, fascism, and communism are all employed in a wide
variety of social organizations in all societies, regardless of the
political orientation of the government. In our Spring 2006 survey,
we asked the 2,485 respondents if they had to choose, which of the
following systems would they prefer: anarchy, fascism, or
communism? The responses indicating anarchy are in the graph
Preference for Anarchy over Communism and Fascism (VL=Very Liberal,
L=Liberal, C=Conservative, VC=Very Conservative) (M=Male, F=Female)
Conservatives, on average, had a preference for anarchy over
both communism and fascism, and this tendency varied proportionately
with the strength of Conservative beliefs. We believe this to be consistent
with the Conservative's enhanced tendency for reward-seeking,
as both communistic and fascist social organizations employ more restrictions
on personal behavior than anarchy.
Liberals are more tolerant of governmental regulation, as they had the
lowest preference for anarchy, again consistent with the reduced
tendency of the Liberals for reward-seeking. But
if forced to choose between communism and fascism, the
Liberals would overwhelmingly select the former, as seen below.
Preference between Communism (in Blue)
or Fascism (in Red) (VL=Very Liberal, L=Liberal,
C=Conservative, VC=Very Conservative) (M=Male, F=Female)
Liberals would strongly favor communism over fascism.
Surprisingly, the Conservative females would slightly favor communism,
and the Very Conservative females would slightly favor fascism.
The Conservative and Very Conservative males would strongly favor fascism
over communism, which is consistent with other research.
Conservative's positive social valuation of the rich and powerful
allows them to continue as the primary organizing force of economic
production. No doubt a society full of Liberals would make it very difficult
enhanced valuation of the rich and powerful is curiously
independent of the socioeconomic status of the Conservative. Lower-income
Conservatives are not typically applying equity considerations in their
evalution of the rich and powerful, which is quite a contrast
to the Liberals.
there seems to be a good evolutionary reason for the lower-income Conservative's
attraction to hierarchical social groups, which has deep roots in primate
social behavior. Food competition correlates very highly with strong
male dominance hierarchies in primates. These dominance hierarchies
provide two important survival functions--to reduce intra-group conflict,
and to maximize the value of inter-group competition.
into hierarchical social groups is much more likely to occur in competitive
and threatening environments, which is consistent with primate behavior.
The Conservatives, which in an earlier survey reported higher levels
of suspiciousness of strangers, also perceive outside
groups to be more threatening. The elevated defensive orientation of
Conservatives is evident from our Spring 2006 survey, when we asked:
When do you think al-Qaida will attack the U.S. again? Those that
believe al-Qaida will attack within five years is listed in the graph
Those believing that al-Qaida will attack the US within 5 years. (L=Liberal,
C=Conservative) (M=Male, F=Female) (<50=Household Income under $50K,
<130=Household Income between $50-$130K, 130+=Household Income over
have a substantial elevation in the threat assessment from
al-Qaida. Interestingly, income levels and threat assessment
are correlated variables.
have a higher propensity to both initiate and react to inter-group
competition, and a correspondingly greater propensity to organize
into hierarchical social groups to facilitate it. The propensity to
more willingly accept lower social positions among the lower-income
Conservatives, along with their elevated social valuation of the rich
and powerful, facilitates inter-group competition. It is
no coincidence that this correlates with their elevated threat
assessments from other social groups.
The lower competitive
levels of Liberals contribute to their reduced tendency to organize
into hierarchical social groups, and also their difficulty in achieving
higher ranks within those organizations, at least for the males. The
strongly hierarchical social group is not an easy place for the average
Liberal to be.
and submissive behaviors are not practiced equally by Conservatives
and Liberals. This is most evident in the social valuation of the
rich and powerful. But submissiveness in hierarchical social organizations
is best evidenced by the greater influence of the dominant members
over subordinate behavior.
This would imply
that Conservatives in the bottom rungs of hierarchical social organizations
(e.g., business enterprises) are more likely to execute the demands
of the leaders. Liberals are more likely to subvert those demands
in favor of more locally adaptive approaches. Conservative and Liberal
behavior in business enterprises is not equivalent, and each has some
interesting advantages and disadvantages. Conservatives and Liberals
organize differently into business organizations and also into economies
But we have left
off the best part: the age-old question of Conservatives, Liberals,
fascism, and communism, and the strange relationship to hemisphericity
that we detected in our Spring survey. More to come in Part 3 of this
Evolutionary Value of Conservatism and Liberalism
1: Instability in the Proportions of Conservatives and Liberals
such an impressive arsenal of survival behaviors that one wonders how
the Liberals have managed to survive among them. But survive they do,
and in large numbers.
we saw in the adjacent article, Conservatives are better adapted for
inter-group competition. But
Conservatives and Liberals have many other notable variations in their
adaptive survival strategies. Curiously, some of these variations are
The Vietnam War
would have the unexpected result of assisting in the development of
evolutionary game theory. In 1972, John Maynard Smith
would connect game theory and the theory of animal conflict. Smith was
a leftist, and in a poorly veiled social commentary about the Vietnam
War, he invented the classic Hawk-Dove game that would pit his resource-stealing
and war-mongering Hawks against his resource-sharing and peaceful Doves.
In Smith's initial
model, when a Hawk encountered the Dove, the Dove fled, leaving all
the resources for the Hawk. This was a pretty good situation for the
Hawk, except for the fact that there were other Hawks. A Hawk-Hawk confrontation
led to mutual destruction, and after assigning evolutionary "values"
to the permutations of Hawk and Dove confrontations, the survival value
of Hawkish behavior was equal to that of the Dove.
Smith had proposed
the idea of the evolutionary stable system, as in the above case
where competitive strategies could not drive out cooperative strategies.
However, evolution and stability are not very compatible,
and Smith's line of reasoning was more designed to explain why both
cooperation and competition would coexist among the same species.
No doubt Smith,
who was ever conscious of the evolutionary significance of current events,
was secretly applying his Hawk-Dove game to Conservative and Liberal
behavior, which was rather hard to do given the notable cooperative
behaviors that both Conservatives and Liberals would exhibit within
their social groups. So Smith would later invent a third player in his
Hawk-Dove game, called the Retaliator, which would cooperate with the
Doves and fight with the Hawks. The Retaliator would display attitudinal
In short, he invented
what was already the most commonly displayed behavioral phenotype in
the primate world, not to mention the final victor in his Hawk-Dove
game. But this whole line of reasoning seemed to imply that political
behavior was at least partially inherited.
Hereditability of Political Attitudes
Thomas Bouchard et al published a paper titled "...Twins
Study of Social Attitudes", the heredity of political attitudes
was firmly established by the study of homozygous and heterozygous twins
separated at birth. Further research by John Alford et al, combining
the substantial twin data from the Virginian and Australian studies,
would confirm that genetics plays a larger role in personal political
tendencies than does environment.
Heredity of political
attitudes was throwing genetics firmly in the front seat of political
orientation. But how? None of these studies has proposed an answer,
and to our knowledge, only Brack and Zhang's Hemisphericity Theory
of Political Orientation provides a biological theory of variations
in political attitudes (see the article on the left). Alleles that formulate
the disposition towards hemisphericity are inheritable, and are therefore
subject to the same rules of genetic fitness as any other allele group.
Moderate, Libertarian, etc, are all political phenotypes that each have
a survival value that we propose to be variant across socio-economic
habitats. For example, the survival value of Conservative behavior
is not the same in every environment. These variations in habitat fitness
are the basis for changes in the relative proportions of the political
phenotypes over time. Within the same habitat, the relative proportions
of Conservatives and Liberals is not constant.
The question is--what
is causing these proportions to be unstable?
Except for large-scale
warfare, famine, or mass migrations, few things have the long-term political
impact of high birth rates. Simply put, caucasian Conservatism is less
oriented towards reproductive inhibition than is caucasian Liberalism.
are more organized around maintaining reproductive rates. The Conservative
attitudes, which tend to promote heterosexuality and anti-abortionism,
are the more obvious indicators of this tendency--but the Conservatives
possess other subtle behaviors that also promote reproduction.
First, the Conservatives
are distributed over more space. That is, Conservatives are more likely
to distribute themselves over a wider territory than Liberals. This
was discussed in our October
2005 edition. Conservatives are more likely to prefer suburban and
rural environments to city life. This tendency is directly related to
But this Conservative
preference for more space is not just limited to outside the home, but
inside it as well. Caucasian Conservatives maintain a greater square
footage per person than Liberals regardless of community size (see our
edition). Conservatives maintain this enhanced square footage in rural,
suburban, and city environments. They also maintain this advantage despite
having more people per household.
and Newborn Babies
Based on the very
limited cognitive evidence we've collected regarding the psychological
disposition towards newborns, the Conservatives are heavily skewed in
their empathetic responses towards babies.
One piece of evidence
that we have gathered pertains to the female Conservative's elevated
hedonic preference for the odor of newborn babies. This is unusual,
since mammals are generally aversive to the infantile odors, unless
they are under the elevated influences of estrogen, progesterone, cortisol,
vasopressin, oxytocin, prolactin, etc.
In our Spring
2006 survey, we asked the respondents to pick their favorite odors from
the following list: Chocolate, Coffee, Vanilla, Garlic, or
a Newborn Baby.
Newborn Baby as Favorite Odor (VL=Very Liberal, L=Liberal, C=Conservative,
VC=Very Conservative) (M=Male, F=Female)
Conservative and especially the Very Conservative females were sharply
elevated in their preference for the Newborn Baby odor relative
to the Liberal females. The Very Conservative females were the only
cohort to select Newborn Baby as their favorite odor. (See
the interesting inverse correlation between coffee and newborns in the
age distribution (not shown) was particularly interesting, as the 35-50
age group had the highest average preference for the newborn odors across
the Conservative and Liberal political cohorts--even higher than the
18-34 age group. The
males (in blue) had very low preferences
for the Newborn Baby odor, with an unexpected elevation among
the Very Conservatives.
the elevated Conservative preference is strong in the Over 50 age group,
we do not believe that our results are reflective of whether or not
the Conservatives have a baby in the home. However, we cannot be sure,
since we did not control for this in our survey.
also noted that the elevated preference for the odor of newborns
is strongly correlated with religiosity in both males and females across
both Conservative and Liberal cohorts.
can only speculate about how this odor preference relates to attitudes
on abortion, as we did not control for this in our survey. However,
given the strong religious correlation with newborn odor preference,
we would fully expect that it is highly correlated with anti-abortionistic
interesting to note is that we saw a similar elevation in newborn
odor preference for those Liberals describing themselves as spiritual,
which we believe to be the right-brain's analog of left-brain religiosity,
and an indication that the bilateral temporal lobes, more precisely
the bilateral olfactory-amygdala-hypothalamic neural networks, are heavily
involved in newborn odor preference.
other interesting note--among males, preference for newborn odor
was positively correlated with higher household income. This
was true for Liberals, Very Liberals, Conservatives and Very Conservatives.
Among females we saw the exact opposite trend--the preference for
newborn odor was negatively correlated with household income
across all political cohorts. We must add that these correlations were
not statistically significant, due to the relatively low preference
for newborn odors, on average.
the 2000 U.S. Presidential election, the Republicans won the 19 states
highest in caucasian birth rates. The Democrats won the 16 lowest states.
This pattern was repeated in 2004. These elevated caucasian birth rates
are primarily in the lower latitudes of the United States.
We have proposed that the impact of sunlight intensities in the lower-latitudes
have the dual impact of masculinizing males and feminizing females via
the positive impact on testosterone and estrogen synthesis. This naturally
increases birth rates. It also has the added political impact of priming
the dopaminergic system, which promotes Conservative attitudes (see
our article in the the September
2005 edition). We also believe that heat has an similar impact,
although it has a different physiology.
caucasian Liberals are no doubt losing the fertility war with the Conservatives.
The fact that political disposition is genetically inheritable certainly
puts birth rates at the center of the disequilibrium between Liberalism
and Conservatism. Without the presence of cataclysmic events, the proportion
of caucasian Liberalism should continue its downward trend.
caucasian skin is not well adapted for the sun-drenched lower latitudes
of the United States, and the long-term future of skin color in this
region certainly favors a general darkening over the very long run.
birth rates of the indigenous hispanic population will accelerate this
trend, and the caucasian Conservatives have the ominous task of maintaining
their political power in the face of the upcoming non-caucasian majorities
in the lower latitudes, which for now, tend to be more liberal.
enough, it seems that the subduction of the caucasian gene pool is being
facilitated by the Liberals, who seem to be readily mixing with non-caucasians
at a faster pace. However, our current evidence of this is rather limited,
so this remains to be seen.
caucasian Conservatives seem to be particularly organized for reproduction,
and at a substantial cost. Utah has the highest caucasian birth rate,
and also the highest rate of bankruptcy. The elevated Conservative propensity
towards reward-seeking certainly supports higher birth rates, and the
reproduction-induced territorial dispersion of the Conservatives is
best viewed in the voting patterns of suburban and rural communities.
in all of this is the Conservative tendency towards religious
behavioral inhibition in social contexts--which we believe to be particularly
important in their reproductive advantage. We believe religiosity
is evolution's answer to the problem of maintaining birth rates while
simultaneously providing a functional social regulation mechanism.
social regulation mechanisms, that are so prominent among the Liberals,
appear to be very habitat-sensitive in their regulation of birth rates.
In short, caucasian Liberals adapt their birth rates quite readily to
the population sustainability of their habitats.
Conservatives have typically led in the caucasian settlement of the
new world. The Conservative propensity to spread out is actually very
common in primates. It is the Liberal behavior that violates the general
rule of homogenous population density. It is no coincidence that high
population densities correlate strongly with Liberalistic attitudes.
the next edition, we will continue our analysis of Conservative and
Liberal reproductive variations, and then begin our discussion on some
of the other behaviors that create evolutionary advantages for both
groups. Not to be forgotten are the poor Moderates, that never get any
attention, that don't think about politics very much, that exhibit the
least asymmetries in cognitive laterality, and that are actually the
bus-drivers for this great evolutionary adventure.
Coffee Versus The Babies
our Spring 2006 survey, we asked the 2,485 respondents to select their
favorite odor from the following list: Chocolate, Coffee, Garlic,
Vanilla, or Newborn babies. While coffee was generally the
most preferred odor, we found an interesting inverse correlation between
the preferences for the odor of newborns and coffee in
females as we go from left to right on the political scale.
Coffee (in Brown) vs Newborn
Baby (in Peach) as Favorite Odor (VL=Very
Liberal, L=Liberal, M=Moderate, C=Conservative, VC=Very Conservative)
inverse relationship may have reproductive overtones, as excessive caffeine
intake may lower birth weights and increase the risk of miscarriage.
The more fertile Conservatives may be moderating these increased risks
by a corresponding reduction in caffeine intake, and therefore a lower
preference for coffee odors.