Which candidate you vote for may depend more on your biological make-up than a careful analysis of issues, because the brains of self-identified Democrats and Republicans are hard-wired differently and may be naturally inclined to hold varying, if not opposing, perceptions and values.

After declaring their political affiliations, subjects were given questionnaires designed to gauge their attitudes on a range of select political issues. Next, they were given MRIs which made it possible to analyze the strength of connections between the left and right hemispheres of their brains.

Researcher Roger Newman-Norlund says, "The differences are significant and real. One possible explanation for our results is that Democrats and Republicans process social connectedness in a fundamentally different way."

The results found more neural activity in areas believed to be linked with broad social connectedness in Democrats, and more activity in areas linked with tight social connectedness in the Republicans (in some ways the study confirms stereotypes about members of the two parties).

The research also suggests that keeping an open mind about politics and voting according to the views each candidate espouses is not as easy as it seems–bridging partisan divides and acting contrary to ideological preferences requires going against deeply ingrained biological tendencies.

Newman-Norlund says, "The (brain) differences could be a result of genetics, experiences, or a combination of both. It takes a lot of effort to see the other side and we’re not going to wake up one day and all start getting along."

But if we DON’T start "getting along" on CERTAIN key issues, we may not make it into the future–at least not intact. We recently had a superstorm because nobody listened, but when MOTKE told Whitley what was coming, HE listened, and not only that, he DID something about it!

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