The more I follow current brain research the more creeped out I am about the powerlessness, if not the existence, of free will.
PARIS: Neurons in the brains of liberals and conservatives fire differently when confronted with tough choices, suggesting that some political divides may be hard-wired, according to a new study.It is hard not to react strongly to the idea we are "programmed" from conception to certain biases. It certainly colors my expectations about persuading others to my [obviously biased] point of view. However, there is a more hopeful side to this discovery.
Some previous studies have established a link between political persuasion and certain personality traits. Those who define themselves as conservatives tend to crave order and structure in their lives, and are more consistent in the way they make decisions, for example. Liberals, by contrast, show a higher tolerance for ambiguity and complexity, and adapt more easily to unexpected circumstances. [More]
When people rise above their backgrounds and prejudices, it represents a triumph of the new brain over the old brain. It occurs every day, but only by strength of will. The fallback inherited position of our onboard fears need not rule our actions. The lives of good people everyday offer proof.