Colin Firth – yes, that one – publishes neuroscience paper

Oscar-winning hunk Colin Firth isn’t just a pretty face, it seems: he’s been cited as one of four co-authors on a scientific paper appearing in Current Biology.

The Kings’s Speech star commissioned the research during a stint as guest presenter on a popular BBC radio show, the Today Programme.

University College London scientists Geraint Rees and Ryota Kanai scanned the brains of Conservative politician Alan Duncan and Labour’s Stephen Pound, along with another 90 participants.

And they found that there were differences in structure between liberals and conservatives, with liberalism being associated with the gray matter volume of anterior cingulate cortex, and conservatism with increased right amygdala size.

“Our findings extend previous observations that political attitudes reflect differences in self-regulatory conflict monitoring and recognition of emotional faces by showing that such attitudes are reflected in human brain structure,” they say.

“Although our data do not determine whether these regions play a causal role in the formation of political attitudes, they converge with previous work to suggest a possible link between brain structure and psychological mechanisms that mediate political attitudes.”

The team reckoned they could predict political views with 72 percent accuracy, simply by looking at brain structure.

It’s not clear what Firth contributed to the paper, other than having the idea in the first place. But the news could do a lot to encourage the uptake of science by dreamy young girls – perhaps someone should do a study to check.

Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults is here.