No Joke: Study Suggests That To Be Liberal You Just Have To Shut Off Part Of Your Brain With Magnets
A joint team of American and British scientists have discovered that powerful magnetic pulses to the brain can temporarily change people's feelings on a variety of subjects - from their belief in God, to their attitude to immigration.
The study, published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, saw scientists use a metal coil to create strong magnetic fields around certain parts of the brain.
The non-invasive practice is called trancranial magnetic stimulation, and has can be used to treat depression.
However, researchers have now found that by targeting the part of the brain that deals with threats, they can temporarily change people's beliefs and views.
The team, comprised of scientists from the University of York and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), used 39 politically moderate students as test subjects.
The two were split into two groups - one, the control group, was given a sham dose of magnetism that was not strong enough to influence brain activity.
The other got a strong pulse of TMS that was strong enough to temporarily shut down their posterior medial frontal cortex (pMFC), a part of the brain that "plays a key role in both detecting discrepancies between desired and current conditions and adjusting subsequent behaviour to resolve such conflicts."
In other words, this part of the brain processes threats and conflicts, and decides how to respond to them.