Is there a genetic link to the way we think?

After taking a class in political science several years ago, I discovered that neuroscientists studied the difference between conservatives and liberals. Their studies showed that differing brain regions can be used to predict which political party a person may veer toward, suggesting that our Republican friends can't help being conservative any more than our Democrat friends can help being liberal.

How the democrat and republican mind works

I learned that democrats have a larger anterior cingulate cortex which is associated with error detection (no wonder they are always calling you out), conflict monitoring as well as control.

Liberals generally feel safe. Their childhood memories are good so they anticipate and even welcome change in their lives and in the world without overwhelming anxiety.

Conservatives have a larger amygdala which is associated with emotional memory and fear. Think anxiety and panic attacks. Conservatives tend to have stronger emotional reactions to life so consider this: a child growing up in a dysfunctional home will be raised immersed in fear. It is in the child's best interest to create a safe environment and then not allow anything to happen to that environment that might be interpreted as change. Think: must be safe at all cost.

Even psychologically, Democrats and republicans differ in their outlook on life.

There is an ongoing conflict with gay rights simply because Republicans don't like change. It really hasn't anything to do with being homophobic, they are genetically hardwired to resent change due to fear and emotional landmines. Liberals have no problem with gay rights. Change is for the better. The argument for both can be understood if you remove the emotion and take the time to understand.

It takes emotional intelligence to bridge the divide.

Republicans tend to see abortion as an emotional issue. They can't imagine anyone aborting a baby once, much less several times. Democrats see this as a logical issue. Don't have the money, space, and the time to raise a child? Then abort it. Not that Democrats are not emotionally involved because they are, however, their reasoning is if you are not going to have an abortion and you cannot take care of yourself then the government must take care of you.

Republicans, however, demand that each fetus has inalienable rights and as such has a right to live regardless if the biological mother or father can afford to raise the child. However, they also scream that we have to cut back on welfare which leaves the child in a place where fear rules which is not good for the child or the biological parent. Do you see the conundrum?

Republicans see guns as a protection issue. What if the government goes bad? What if someone tries to hurt my family? What if the police don't get here in time?

At least I can defend myself, says the Republican.

Democrats see gun statistics and throw in the emotional side of it only when necessary.

Don't you see how illogical you are?

asks the Democrat who does not understand why you cannot see that assault rifles are bad and regular hunting rifles are good.

As far as handguns go, if they want them, they will find them. Doesn't matter if you outlaw them or not. My husband was nearly murdered with a knife. I still have knives in my kitchen.


As a writer, I have a diverse group of people who are conservative and liberal. What I felt after the shooting in Virginia was sadness so I asked my friends what they were feeling and while I could not include them all, I left the ones that were not duplicates.

Casey S: John Lennon ... " Imagine"

Jenn N: There was a third in Brooklyn. I'm with Casey!

Louanne D: Discouraging and sad to say the least.

Grace B: It took an attack on Congress to get our attention

Jane L: I thought Gabby Gifford might have moved Congress to do something about guns. Instead, they named a navy ship after her and keep making guns easily available to mentally unstable people.

Joanne S: I live in two different states these days. California and Arizona. In Arizona I see people walking around the hardware store and in Walmart with a side arm in a holster and somehow I feel safe. Not so in California.

Denna H: Gun control will not stop bad people from getting their hands on guns. It will stop good people from being able to protect themselves.

Kristine G: I feel disillusioned and disappointed in humanity that chooses greed and selfishness over love and compassion for others.

If we consider ourselves an intelligent species then we must recognize that the differences in our personalities may come from genetic and environmental factors. Once we understand and accept those qualities in each other, we can bridge the divide and put to rest the divisiveness that threatens us all.