Editor's note

A quick and easy way to infuriate someone with strongly held left-wing views is to compare them to someone with strongly held right-wing views. The same, of course, applies in reverse. But findings from the University of Cambridge suggest people at the two ends of the political spectrum could have more in common than they realise. While their views may differ radically, their cognitive profiles are similar.

In tests, people who see themselves as extremely attached to either the Democratic or Republican party in the US displayed far greater mental rigidity than people who feel only moderately attached to a party. They may argue over all kinds of issues, but they share a propensity to see the world in black-and-white terms.

This will make for difficult reading for some but, as one of the study’s authors writes, if we can recognise this tendency for dogma in ourselves and others, perhaps we can find a way to bridge the political divides of our age.

Elsewhere, Ritalin is 75 years old and there’s troubling news from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a measles outbreak has killed more people this year than Ebola.

Laura Hood

Politics Editor, Assistant Editor

Top stories

EPA/Justin Lane

The partisan brain: cognitive study suggests people on the left and right are more similar than they think

Leor Zmigrod, University of Cambridge

A particular type of mind could be more susceptible to political partisanship, on either side of the traditionally defined political spectrum.


Ritalin at 75: what does the future hold?

Matthew Smith, University of Strathclyde

The biography of a mercurial medicine.

A health team begins to disinfect a clinic in Ngongolio, Beni, DRC. Hugh Kinsella Cunningham/EPA

Over 3,000 killed by deadly virus in Democratic Republic of the Congo this year – and it’s not Ebola

Jeremy Rossman, University of Kent; Matthew Badham, University of Kent

Two deadly viruses are ravaging the DRC. Why are we only hearing about one of them?

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