From the moment Donald Trump began his Presidential campaign the fearmongering has been almost non-stop. When Trump proclaimed that rapist and murderers were crossing into the United States from Mexico, it stirred up something in his support base and since that time, the President has continued to divide our country. It turns out, the brains of his conservative voters are wired differently and Trump’s messaging is targeting their thought processes with surprising efficacy.
Several studies over the previous decade have examined the brain activity of liberals versus conservatives with some researchers claiming they can tell if a person is on the left or right by simply looking at their responses to certain stimuli.
As RawStory points out, these studies focus on how “reflexive brain responses often override logic and reason.”
A 2008 study published in the journal Science monitored brain activity among various individuals. Researchers noticed immediately functional and structural neuroanatomical differences when fear was examined. The study found that conservatives gave a stronger physiological response to startling noises and graphic images when compared to liberals.
“Those who responded more strongly to threatening pictures were more likely to favor defense spending, capital punishment, and patriotism, compared to those who supported liberal immigration policies, gun control, foreign aid, and pacifism,” RawStory notes.
The studies don’t end there. In 2011 a brain-imaging study from the journal Current Biology found that conservatives often exhibit an “exaggerated neural response” during fear processing. That response was “significantly” higher than the response found in liberal brains.
In another 2014 MRI study published in Current Biology researchers claimed to predict liberal or conservative individuals based on how their brain reacted to disgusting and threatening images.
Threats and scare tactics might cause conservatives to elicit a stronger response but it’s important to note that all of us have some level of response in regards to the actions Trump and others have taken to spread messages of fear, hate, and disgust.