Darren Schreiber’s research centres on emergence and complexity in political systems.

Does brain structure determine your political views? Dr Darren Schreiber interviewed by Timandra Harkness for Personality Politics on BBC Radio 4.

Are our political views linked to the way are brains function? Dr Schreiber joined Timandra Harkness and other leading academics on Radio 4 to investigate how our political views are linked to the way our brains function.

The programme 'Personality Politics' was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 20 May 2014

Recent brain-scan studies have linked political attitudes to different brain structures and patterns of mental activity. Discovering the cutting edge brain research into how we make such choices, the programme explored what its implications could be for the conduct of political debate and campaigning, how to influence people, the psychology of decision-making, and understanding ourselves.

Listen to the programme.

In the research done so far, it's attitudes to risk, disgust and fear that show the strongest links to overt political views.

Dr Darren Schreiber, Lecturer in Politics at Exeter University has used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to look at patterns of activity in the brain when people make decisions, especially those involving risk. While their decisions weren't all that different, Dr Schreiber saw variation in the parts of the brain that were most active in self-described conservatives and those who called themselves liberal.

"By looking at how the brain is processing political phenomena, we can understand a little better why we're doing what we're doing," says Darren Schreiber

Although Dr Schreiber won't generalise about exactly how conservatives and liberals think, he does think his work suggests that differing political outlooks reflect deep-seated divergence in how we understand the world.

Read the full article on the BBC website.

Date: 21 May 2014

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