Political season is here again, and it's time for the quadrennial re-emergence of the neuropundits. It starts earlier every time, and this time it started in April of this year, with a new paper in Current Biology by Ryoto Kanai and colleagues.
The paper received attention because its third author is a movie star, Colin Firth, who played the King of England, won an Academy Award AND had a paper published in Current Biology. So he's having a good year.
But the content of the paper is interesting too. The authors compared the sizes of several brain structures in liberal and conservative students (in the UK, so we still have to wait for the most interesting results: brain size in tea party members). ...
Anyhow, the authors learned that liberals have larger anterior cingulate cortex than conservatives and that conservatives have a larger amygdala.
I have big no gripes with this paper, which is quite judicious in its conclusions. But I do have a gripe with the media coverage of the study, and with other neuropolitics studies more generally. The media like to pretend that we know what these effects mean. But neuroscience just doesn't really know.
Please go to the link and read the whole thing.