Brain scans can reveal which political party a person is affiliated with

Brain scans can actually predict which political party someone supports, a new study reveals. A team from The Ohio State University reports that certain “signatures” in the brain accurately line up with how someone leans politically — as either conservatives or liberals.

The study is the largest to date using MRI scans of the brain to examine political ideology.

“Can we understand political behavior by looking solely at the brain? The answer is a fairly resounding ‘yes,’” says study co-author Skyler Cranmer, the Phillips and Henry Professor of Political Science at Ohio State, in a university release. “The results suggest that the biological and neurological roots of political behavior run much deeper than we previously thought.”

Researchers also looked at functional connectivity within the brain and its connection to a person’s political leaning. Functional connectivity refers to how different regions of the brain display similar patterns of activity when someone performs certain tasks. Simply put, these regions all communicate and work together when focusing on a task.

Your brain is talking politics — even when you’re not!

Study authors used state-of-the-art artificial intelligence programs and other resources at the Ohio Supercomputer Center to analyze the brain scans. They found strong connections between those scans and how participants answered questions gauging their political ideology on a six-point scale — going from “very liberal” to “very conservative.”

Interestingly, the eight tasks the 174 participants completed during this test did not focus on politics! Even so, their answers gave researchers an indication of how they lean politically and matched up with differences in the MRI results.

“None of the eight tasks was designed to elicit partisan responses,” says study co-author Seo Eun Yang, a former doctoral student at Ohio State. “But we found the scans from all eight tasks were related to whether they identified as liberals or conservatives.”

Moreover, even when the participants just sat quietly and didn’t think about anything, the MRI scans reveal differences in how the brains of conservatives and liberals look.

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

Which parts of the brain predict your political party?

Study authors note that three of the eight tasks participants completed created the strongest links to political affiliation. One was an empathy test, where the group viewed images of neutral, happy, sad, or fearful faces. The second tested episodic memory and the third involved a reward task, where participants won money based on how fast they pressed a button.

However, only the reward task accurately predicted political extremism among participants who were either very conservative or very liberal.

“More work needs to be done to understand the relationship of reward decision-making with extreme political views,” Wilson says. “The results with the empathy task suggest that political thought may be closely tied to emotion and emotional response.”

Although the study has found a link between the brain and politics, researchers can’t say for sure what causes it. Despite that, they discovered that brain activity in the amygdala, inferior frontal gyrus, and the hippocampus all display the greatest connection to determining which party someone follows.

“What we don’t know is whether that brain signature is there because of the ideology that people choose or whether people’s ideology is caused by the signatures we found,” Cranmer concludes. “It also could be a combination of both, but our study does not have the data to address this question.”

The study is published in the journal PNAS Nexus.

Comments

    1. Pew Study provided results that Liberals suffer from mental illness. This is only one of a few studies which verify that fact. Conservatives were not shown to suffer from mental illness. Get your facts correct instead of making up your own.

      1. @Good Lord, Get YOUR facts straight. The only thing “Pew” about your results is your own bromodrosis.

    2. You’re so right. Any Republican that wants a secure border, an energy independent country so that we have reasonable priced gas which will lower inflation, a strong military that has the capability to protect us and believes in American traditional family values definitely has a mental disorder. LOL

    3. Yes we all have ptsd from being traumatized by violent leftist revolutionaries who have infiltrated every corner of our society and turned civilization/reality on its head. Now good is bad, bad is good.

    4. It is a well known scientific fact that the brains of Democrats are upside down. They also have a strong desire to conform to authoritarianism in order to be part of the group. They constantly need someone to tell them how to think and how to live their lives.

      Sad.

      1. Trumpers stormed the Capitol. That is all that needs to be said. Republicans are the party of fascists and autocrats that have gun fetishes and small appendages

    5. All slaves were owned by democrats. All Jim Crow laws were passed by democrats. Democrats wanted to prevent blacks from owning guns because a well armed man is a free man. Almost all Planned Parenthood’s are built in minority areas. 1/2 of unborn black kids are aborted. Democrats aren’t empathetic to anything but more votes from minorities. Thankfully, more and more of them are waking up.

    6. I don’t think it’s fair to say Republicans have a mental illness. It’s much more accurate IMO to say brain dead.

    7. It has been known for decades that If you have grey matter and electric like brain activity you are a Republican. If not, you are a Dimocrat.

    1. ….and Democrats are motivated by 6 year old boys who want to be girls and vice versa…..

    2. Yes, Fear of moronic Democrats and their unbelievable stupidity. Hopefully, the next elections will reverse the downward spiral their misguided foolhardy policies have created.

  1. So if an MRI can tell you someone’s political affiliation, and an MRI can show some mental illnesses then Michael Savage was right all these years….

    Liberalism is a mental disorder…

    Haha

    1. Oh look someone with lack of insight or empathy. Owning the Libs is their only concern even if it kills them. Hate and fear driven even to their own detriment

  2. Trump rewired my brain to become more liberal and to be repulsed by most Republican politicians. Now, all my family Trump supporters or Conservatives are all upset with me and think I’mgoing to hell. Was I wrong thinking I was conservative? I also challenged and abandoned a lifelong faith after I witnessed the cult of Q. In 2014, I underwent frontotemporoparietal scraping and extraction of blood clot after a mild brain trauma. The cortex was also bleeding. Then major seizures. I am fine now, but could this have rewired my brain or would it have even been close to that area? (How could you know,?)I feel I am cognitively flexible, but I still feel I became “woke” late in life – mid-60s.

    1. So you admit your brain was removed during surgery and now your a Democrat.

      Can’t make this stuff up!

  3. So what? The ultimate question (does your brain determine or reflect your political affiliation) is the same old chicken or egg question, isn’t it?

  4. Human minds are influenced by the events and words spoken around them. Look at Jesus who was said to have not done anything wrong, but the Jewish leaders of the time were scared of him as he spoke the truth and they influenced the crowd to scream death to him. Same holds true today as it happened to Trump all over politicians protecting their corruption against the America people. Use of the media and social platforms to scream he is a Russian spy, impeach him, put him in prison is all people heard for four years and voted accordingly. Yet not one can state a single items where he broke the laws of the nation while the Congress whittled at our Constitutional Freedoms. So as the famous Russian speech at the UN give me your children and in six years I will have them all as true communists has been proven to be very true.

  5. Brain scans can show “religion,” as well. Something to do “gullible” or “Brainwashed,” I think.

    1. Hot take, except the vast majority of scientists are Democrats. The same scientists who invented the MRI. Do better.

  6. The easier the brain is to scan, the more likely it is to be liberal.:
    – smaller mass
    – less complexity
    – more fluidity

    1. MRI technology was invented by scientists. Scientists and other intelligent people who move the world forward are Dems. Republican MRIs would consist of a toothless hillbilly drawing with chalk on a cave wall.

  7. So…if you have a brain that can deductive reason, then you’re a conservative…Right?

  8. “More work needs to be done to understand the relationship of reward decision-making with extreme political views,”
    …Why?

  9. The cerebral cortex of liberals is much thinner and has far fewer convolutions. That’s been known for years.

  10. Forgive the pun, but this was a “no-brainer” literally. The more conservative, the more intelligent brain activity. The more liberal, the less brain activity. Any interviews of people on the street proves this over and over.

  11. I am a Ind voter, that rarely vote for both parties. Now how can a scan tell you who I tend to vote for? A palm reader or a tarot card seer would be probably be as close to your high tech brain scan!

  12. It makes perfect sense, because the two party system is a farce. It is a Satanic deception designed to ensnare people in a Ying and Yang style system where the positive things that need doing are divided into two groups that oppose each other, while the harmful things are considered “bi-partisan”
    The person who is empathetic enough to know it is wrong to bomb kids half a world away because there is oil underneath their house are told they need to think it’s OK to murder their unborn children, so neither side talks to each other because they know (rightly) the other side is baby-killers.
    The two parties have been crafted to sucker the most people possible into a cycle of political masturbation that allows the controllers, to do what is good for a bunch of tyrannical globalists, and blame the lack of progress on why people are actually in the two parties on the opposition.

  13. This article doesn’t say much and the headline is misleading. That said, I can only assume the far leftists are emotional and conservatives are logical. Thanks for the waste of time and of course, money.

    1. I thought the same thing. I even looked up the study on the university’s website and it was equally lacking in detail. I can only conclude that your assumption is correct, and they really don’t want to publicize it.

  14. old news! Information similar to what is printed here has been around for at least a decade.
    Nice try, though.

    1. No; women do not exist, and therefore cannot be defined.

      Source: Biden’s CDC, Biden-appointed judges, Biden’s Department of Education et al

  15. We don’t need a study to tell us that Nazicrats are insane and have defective brains. We have known this for decades. The only proof you need happens whenever they open their pie holes.

    1. Nazicrats. I hope you didn’t strain your pea brain coming up with that childish and unimpressive nickname.

  16. This sounds like a total waste of research money. It is also apparent the task were designed to meet the predetermined outcome the so-called researchers wanted to find. The fact that a reporter chose to write an article on this thesis confirms there are too many reporters looking for some sorta safe story.

  17. A study that shows liberals are empathetic? In other news outside there is weather (tired I know.) I’ve always adopted the tone set by others in distress, I always felt being happy and chipper while someone is struggling may worsen their plight, therefore making me feel guilty. As far as economic politics, corporations stole working class affluence from America. My great grandpa could make enough as a shoe salesman to buy property with acreage, keep newer cars in the driveway, and raise a family of 5 with a stay at home parent and STILL have money to spend on hobbies. IMHO the rich tricked America into thinking how much money the rich have dictates how well America is doing, when in reality it seems how much purchasing power the middle class has is a much more accurate reflection.

    1. I’m curious – do you have a link to the study itself?
      Because the article does not indicate which political party gave which responses…
      It only mentions specifics on the reward task – which indicated that extremists on both ends of the political Spectrum got similar results.

    2. Nick,

      Given that the co-author is a political “scientist”, I suspect that upon his reading your post, he would find that you do in fact have a brain (as opposed to not having a brain).

      Congrats.

      Now we can go read something that is not pure drivel.

      Ken

    1. Yeah, liberal scientists invented the technology. What have conservatives invented? Oh, yeah, “libtard.” Brainiacs.

  18. Yes. When I grew up in the fifties and sixties our family of seven had a wonderful country home in southern California on ten acres with a swimming pool and at varius times two to four cars and a scooter for me. We took regular vacations with a motor boat trailing a white shiny new Super Sport Chevy Impala. My father was the sole provider who worked as an airplane mechanic at the nearby Air Force base. It always impressed me then when I learned how well we in America lived while others in the world were mostly poor and even starving. Then I grew up to get a job as a gardener at near minimum wage (and I was even homeless for awhile) and never married because I never could afford a home or kids. People said that was because I was lazy and spoiled while all the while I worked myself into crippling arthritis. Oh how times changed for me.

  19. It’s obvious to anyone who cares to consider the truth: Democrats are largely driven by emotion and are attracted to “group think”. Yes, Democrats are empathetic to their own demise. “Tough Love” is real, and until our nation accepts that only through tough love will our country survive, the future of the U.S. is destined to become a socialist, dystopian, nightmare. We are experiencing a hint of that now.

  20. No news to me. Liberals make decisions based on emotion and how they FEEL and conservatives make decisions on what they know and how they THINK.

  21. Employees pay only half of their SS and Medicare taxes, and employers are robbed to pay the other half. The Dem Party voted for obamacare , which stole my life savings and Blue Cross Insurance………my Blue Cross doubled to 1050 per month when obamacare started…..The govt has no money, except the money that was stolen from employers, conservatives, rich, self-employed, etc…….The Dem Party votes to rob the repub party……repent

  22. This is common sense. More logic equals conservative viewpoint while more emotional response equals liberal. Both are important for balance. Maybe we could stop hating for a minute.

  23. New MRI scans reveal Democrats literally have s*** for brains. This factor explains their propensity to continue supporting the same failed policies after it’s become abundantly clear everyone else they do not work.

  24. They first found this years ago. I long ago read a study that said Republicans are motivated by reward, Democrats are motivated by empathy. Evidently, science just keeps confirming it.

  25. This test literally states Conservatives are reward oriented while liberals react with emotional responses. Liberals are irrational unreasonable people fueled by outrage and emotion that have no business in government. They need mental help and anger management classes.

  26. Of course, the closer to a perfect vacuum the brain scan reveals -the more likely the parson is a Democrat and probably an advocate of the idiotic Green New Deal – Hello Joe Biden and AOC.😂

  27. That they omitted telling us which party’s affiliation’s brain worked more effectively does not speak well for the liberals. Must be hard to measure and quantify mush.

  28. If you vote ************ you’re mentally deficient. Fill in the party of your choice. As an economic conservative and social liberal I have no party in this country.

  29. An aptitude for believing anything someone tells them, even though they knew it to be untruthful, indicted a liberal mind.
    An absence of brain activity did also.

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

    Yeah, like a mental illness. Liberalism is a mental disease.

  31. For years, I’ve noticed that Republicans tend to cerebrate, are fact based and intelligent while those go by feelings tend to be empty headed, short bus idiot Democrats.

  32. Does it show visual clues? Like the liberal “brain” showing signs of important pieces missing?

  33. Interesting study, now, how about tendency to violent behavior, aggression, perversion?
    Might be more useful than “background checks”.
    At what age do these behavioral measures become significant?
    Could we classify people at an early stage avoiding a lot of grief to come?

  34. The ignorance, conformation bias and motivated reasoning is while predictable, astounding too. I doubt most here understand the results. Did you actually read the study? Do you actually understand even basically how the mind works? I’d like to see a study like this combined with the work of James Fallon. That might provide some interesting insight.

  35. Sure! It was easy, the conservative brains were large and well developed while liberal brains tended to be about 1/3rd the size and resembled the brain of a small chimpanzee.

  36. “Moreover, even when the participants just sat quietly and didn’t think about anything, the MRI scans reveal differences in how the brains of conservatives and liberals look.”

    Didn’t think about anything? Since that’s not possible – if you follow the science, that is – I’d say that invalidates the findings of these self-professing ‘scientists’.

    Source: https://www.livescience.com/can-you-ever-stop-thinking.html

    Which scientists are the real deal, and which are blowing smoke?

    Whatever you do, don’t think critically. Why you might even question your own government!

  37. Judging by the comment section id say politics in general are a form of mental illness. Both sides here seem to relish in name calling and even when a few actually try to make a rational argument more often then not they devolve into using name calling and political talking points. At least i can say im the crazy one because the last 20 years have taught me politics is the new gang affiliation which both parties perfectly align color wise with. As such i refuse to side with the democrips or the rebloodicins. Your all mad but your ether to embedded in your political culture or you lack the fortitude to self analysis what you are saying.

    This rambling and disjointed message was dictated by loco have a wonderful day

  38. Why so much vitriol among the comments? How can we be the UNITED States when people are so hostile to one another because of politics? If we don’t find some way to work together, we are finished as a country.

  39. The author’s opening sentence reads, “Brain scans can actually predict which political party someone supports, a new study reveals.” The study reveals no such thing. The body of the study never even uses the words “Democrat,” “Republican,” or “party.” (These words do appear in a few of the references.) The study looks at political ideology, which is NOT the same as political party support.

  40. I call phooey fake science. They were just too cute and careful to not tell us which part of the brain does what. What they’re really doing is just observing the comment section here.

    1. The dead giveaway is the usual censoring of critical replies or any comment smacking of ideological independence. One envisions a sweaty fat feminist, face stuffed with chocolate sheetcake, still vowing revenge on a world that rejected her when it threw Hillary under a bus.

  41. This study is more difficult than you can imagine. When measuring the signatures from the brains of some individuals particularly those with LEFT political dominance Detection can be difficult.

    Problem One for Hard LEFT Brains. Detection. Primarily the brain itself, let alone the signal.
    Bone density alone while defining the restricted cranial space within the brain for soft tissue, limits both brain detection, as well as signal output. Increasing the sensitivity of the receiver in order to detect EEG transmissions from a Marxist brain dramatically decreases the signal to noise ratio somewhere on the order of -20db.

    This may be partly due to that Noise itself is a dominate transmission from these individuals, making the separation of the desired signal even more problematic.

    Ironically placing skin electrodes on some of the participants posteriors has provided a very strong neural output. There is some speculation that the speech centers in some subjects brains are some how connected to the nerve centers that control the function of their rectums and bowels

    Further studies are implicated.

  42. Clearly, a lack of brain activity means a Democrat. Ideological uniformity, lack of creativity, laziness,, psychopathic violence, suicidal inner directed loathing, pervertion, are characteristics of the lefts group brain.

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