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Liberal and conservative brains handle emotions differently

Mary Altaffer, Chuck Burton / AP

The structure of our brains may explain why liberals and conservatives react to emotional political appeals — like Jimmy Kimmel's viral health care push — in different ways. Psychiatrist Gail Saltz found that if you look at the size of brain structures, you can predict someone's ideology at at a "frequency of 71.6 percent."

Liberals tend to have a larger and more active anterior cingulate gyrus.

What that means: This part of the brain is responsible for conflict detection, as well as taking in new information and understanding its impact while making decisions. This could make liberals more likely to approach issues with heightened sensitivity.

Conservatives often have a larger and more active amygdala.

What that means: This is responsible for fear processing information and activating the fight-or-flight response. It is expected that someone with this feature will be influenced by fear when making decisions. Psychologists have also found that conservatives prefer stability and structure.