here`s proof labor voters will never learn

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    Piers Akerman
    Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 07:01pm


    NEUROSCIENTISTS may have helped us understand why conservative voters have more common sense than left-wingers.

    The research, sparked by an off-hand remark by actor Colin Firth, shows that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those from the Left.

    I just decided to find out what was biologically wrong with people who dont agree with me and see what scientists had to say about it and they actually came up with something, he said.

    He may be regretting setting that challenge now. On the face of it, people who think as he does may suffer from a weak survival instinct.

    Scans of 90 students brains at University College London, revealed a strong correlation between the thickness of two particular areas of grey matterand an individual`s political views.

    Those who identified their views as right-wing has a more pronounced amygdala, a very old, very ancient part of the brain associated with emotion - particularly fear - while left-wingers had thicker anterior cingulates.

    Researcher and UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience director Geraint Rees said he was very surprised by the findings.

    Why so? Conservatives are by nature innately concerned by threats posed to their survival and now the researchers have found evidence of their brains being hard-wired to accentuate those threats.

    Surely it didn`t take a neuroscientist to work this out. Australian voting patterns acutely reflect the difference between those who care deeply about their fate and those who do not.

    Those who voted for Labor last August showed a distinct lack of concern about the future of the country.

    They voted for the same party they had narrowly elected to govern in 2007 and in doing so they chose to ignore the multiple policy failures of that party - failures that were so apparent that an overwhelming majority of the members of their own parliamentary party, with the collaboration of a few trade union leaders, had dumped their own sitting PM Kevin Rudd in June in favour of his deputy Julia Gillard, who was responsible for a number of the most egregious policies.

    They had learnt nothing from their 2007 experiment. They demonstrated that they were not concerned with the fraud practised on the nation in the name of climate change, they were not concerned about the numerous house fires and the deaths caused by their Government`s failed housing insulation program, nor were they concerned with the waste created under the school buildings rort.

    The litany of policy failures they failed to note or turned a blind eye to is well known.

    So well known that it is nearly impossible for Labor supporters to point to any one successful policy initiative. Apologists for the Rudd-Gillard Government are routinely reduced to nominating tokenistic symbolic gestures such as the apology to the so-called Stolen Generation when asked to nominate a successful Labor program.

    Yet they continued to vote for the Government, which ultimately threatens their livelihoods through higher taxes and charges, and the livelihoods of their children and the growth of the nation.

    Researchers exploring the functions of the amygdala suggest that this part of the brain is responsible for learning and storing information about emotional events.

    They say the amygdala is also involved in the regulation or modulation of a variety of cognitive functions, such as attention, perception and explicit memory.

    If they are correct, that would explain why conservatives, possessing more developed amygdala, are more likely to have learnt from their experiences, whereas left-wingers would be more likely to keep getting burnt.

    Bitter experience has taught conservatives that the current crop of Labor leaders, state and federal, cannot be trusted.

    The empirical evidence of Labor`s failures, both state and federal, is just too massive for any but the most rusted-on follower - or those deficient in the area of the amygdala - to have learnt anything from the destruction evident all around them.

    Firth is currently starring in hit film The King`s Speech about Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, who helped the future King George VI overcome a massive speech impediment. Logue, a West Australian, developed his technique helping shell-shocked World War I veterans recover their speech.

    It is possible that Labor voters might be able to be helped develop a greater awareness of the dangers inherent in their failure to assess the threats posed by their diminished survival instinct, but whether a remedy can be found is uncertain.

    A lot of work has been done on rats and other rodents but if the emotional processing features of the amygdala have been damaged, the fear conditioning responses suffer.

    While the research inspired by Firth`s flippant remark may point the way to understanding the neurology behind political choice, there is no guarantee that those who have a diminished sense of self-preservation will respond differently in the future.

    Rats learn how to avoid electrical shocks but there is a core of Labor voters incapable of learning new behaviour when exposed to the same threat stimuli.

    The commonsense gene favours conservatives.
 
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