Colby Cosh of Maclean’s muses how the cold winter weather of Edmonton produced the “cradle of leadership” in Canada. He bases this on a study out of Japan which claims people who live in northern latitudes have higher IQs.
That got me wondering: how bright can Albertans be? These are, after all, people who divide the vote among two main parties: conservative and ultra-conservative.
Researchers at University College London found that self-described conservative students had a larger amygdala than liberals. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is active during states of fear and anxiety. Liberals had more gray matter at least in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain that helps people cope with complexity.
Author Seth Godin has a more colorful take:
The lizard brain is hungry, scared, angry, and horny.
The lizard brain only wants to eat and be safe.
The lizard brain will fight (to the death) if it has to, but would rather run away. It likes a vendetta...
Nurture vs. Nature
The Japanese study indicates it took 60 generations, or about 1200 years, for the effect to take place. Clearly Albertans haven’t had enough time to evolve into lizard people.
So what turned the province into a bastion of angry cranks all too eager to slap bumper stickers like “Let them Eastern basterds freeze in the dark!” on their pickup trucks?
The only remaining possibility is their rigid rural culture which fosters rugged individualism and stone-cold apathy for any person outside of the family circle.
So if culture can actually change the structure of one’s brain, it follows that conservative ideology causes brain damage!
Just look at what Fox News did to the American South. The Tea Party movement appears to be the outcome of a science experiment run amok that unleashed a contagion of stupid upon the populace. Woody Allen aptly describes the people infected with the brain-wasting meme as “crypto-fascist zombie airheads.”