Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Beyond Liberals and Conservatives to Political Genotypes and Phenotypes

  • John R. Alford (a1), Carolyn L. Funk (a2) and John R. Hibbing (a3)
Abstract

In the past, most political scientists have been oblivious to the growing empirical evidence challenging environmental determinism. Professor Charney, apparently as a result of the fact that genes and the environment interact in a complex fashion, advocates that this passive unawareness be replaced by active denial. Science, however, does not advance by avoiding important relationships merely because they are complicated and, fortunately, science is not heeding Charney's ideologically-based fears. Molecular geneticists, often working in tandem with political scientists, are quickly moving beyond twin studies to identify the specific suites of genes and biological systems that predict variation in core political preferences, whatever labels those preferences might be given in a particular culture at a particular time. We sympathize with the fact that our empirical findings, like those of so many behavioral geneticists, make Charney uncomfortable; still, his critique serves up nothing new—empirically or otherwise. Just as analyses of the roots of sexual preferences cannot presumptively ignore genetics, neither can analyses of the roots of political preferences.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Adorno, T., Frenkel-Brunswik, E., Levinson, D., and Sanford, R.. 1950. The Authoritarian Personality. New York: Harper.
Alford, John R., Funk, Carolyn L., and Hibbing, John R.. 2005. Are political orientations genetically transmitted? American Political Science Review 99 (2): 153–68.
Alford, John R., and Hibbing, John R.. 2007. Personal, inter-personal, and political temperaments. Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science 614 (November): 196212.
Amodio, David M., Jost, John T., Master, Sarah L., and Yee, Cindy M.. 2007. Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism. Nature Neuroscience 10: 1246–7.
Block, Jack, and Block, Jeanne H.. 2005. Nursery school personality and political orientation two decades later. Journal of Research in Personality 39: 395422.
Bouchard, T.J. Jr., and McGue, Matt. 2003. Genetic and environmental influences on human psychological differences. Journal of Neurobiology 54: 445.
Carey, Gregory. 2003. Human Genetics for the Social Sciences. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.
Carmen, Ira H. 2007. “From Genes to Mind to Politics.” Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 12–15.
Charney, Evan. 2008. Genes and ideologies. Perspectives on Politics 6 (2): 299315.
Cronk, N.J., Slutske, W.S., Madden, P.A., Bucholz, K.K, Reich, W, and Heath, A.C.. 2002. Emotional and behavioral problems among female twins: An evaluation of the equal environments assumption. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 41: 829–37.
Eriksson, Marit, Rasmussen, Finn, and Tynelius, Per. 2006. Genetic factors in physical activity and the equal environment assumption: The Swedish young male twins study. Behavior Genetics 36: 238–47.
Fowler, James H., Baker, Laura, and Dawes, Christopher T.. 2006. “The Genetic Basis of Political Cooperation.” Presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, PA, August 30–September 2.
Gerring, John 1997. Ideology: A definitional analysis. Political Research Quarterly 50: 957–94.
Gosling, Samuel D., and John, Oliver P.. 1999. Personality dimensions in non-human animals: A cross-species review. Current Directions in Psychological Science 8: 6975.
Haidt, Jonathan, and Graham, Jesse. 2008. “When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions that Liberals May Not Recognize.” Social Justice Research 21, forthcoming.
Hatemi, Peter K. 2007. “The Genetics of Political Attitudes.” PhD Diss., University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Hatemi, Peter K., Medland, Sarah E., Morley, Kate I., Heath, Anthony C., and Martin, Nicholas G.. 2007a. The genetics of voting: An Australian twin study. Behavior Genetics 37: 435–48.
Hatemi, Peter K., Alford, John R., Hibbing, John R., Martin, Nicholas G., and Eaves, Lindon J.. 2007b. “Not by Twins Alone: Using the Extended Twin Family Design to Investigate the Genetic Basis of Political Beliefs.” Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 12–15.
Horwitz, Allan, Videon, Tami, Schmitz, Mark, and Davis, Diane. 2003. Rethinking twins and environments: Possible social sources for assumed genetic influences in twin research. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 44: 111–29.
Jost, John T. 2006. The end of the end of ideology. American Psychologist 61: 651–70.
Jost, John T., Glaser, Jack, Kruglanski, Arie W., and Sulloway, Frank J.. 2003. Political conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological Bulletin 129: 339–75.
Kendler, Kenneth S., Neale, Michael C., Kessler, R.C., Heath, Andrew C., and Eaves, L.J.. 1992. A population based twin study of major depression in women: The impact of varying definitions of illness. Archives of General Psychiatry 49: 257–66.
Kendler, Kenneth S., Neale, Michael C., Kessler, R.C., Heath, Andrew C., and Eaves, L.J.. 1993. A test of the equal environment assumption in twin studies of psychiatric illness. Behavior Genetics 23: 2127.
Lakoff, George. 2002. Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Laswell, Harold. 1930. Psychopathology and Politics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lodge, Milton, and Taber, Charles S.. 2005. The automaticity of affect for political leaders, groups, and issues. Political Psychology 26: 455–82.
Madsen, Douglas. 1986. Power seekers are different. American Political Science Review 80 (1): 261–69.
Marcus, George E., Neuman, W.R., and MacKuen, Michael. 2000. Affective Intelligence and Political Judgment. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Martin, N.G., Eaves, L.J., Heath, A.C., Jardine, R., Feingold, L.M., and Eysenck, H.J.. 1986. Transmission of social attitudes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (15 June): 4364–68.
McClosky, Herbert. 1958. Conservatism and personality. American Political Science Review 52 (1): 2745.
McDermott, Rose. 2004. The feeling of rationality: The meaning of neuroscientific advances for political science. Perspectives on Politics 2 (4): 691706.
Morris-Yates, A., Andrews, G., Howie, P., and Henderson, S.. 1990. Twins: A test of the equal environments assumption. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 81 (4): 322–6.
O'Connor, T.G., Fulker, K. Deater-Deckard; D, Rutter, M., and Plomin, R.. 1998. Genotype-environment correlations in late childhood and early adolescence: Antisocial behavior problems and coercive parenting. Developmental Psychology 34 (5): 970–81.
Orbell, John, Morikawa, Tomonori, Hartwig, Jason, Hanley, James, and Allen, Nicholas. 2004. Machiavellian intelligence as a basis for the evolution of cooperative dispositions. American Political Science Review 98 (1): 116.
Plomin, R. 1990. The role of inheritance in behavior. Science, 183248, April 13.
Plomin, R., DeFries, J.C., McClearn, G.E., and McGuffin, P.. 2001. Behavioral Genetics, 4th ed.New York: Worth.
Plomin, R., Willerman, L., and Loehlin, J.C.. 1976. Resemblance in appearance and the equal environments assumption in twin studies of personality traits. Behavior Genetics 6: 4352.
Scarr, Sandra, and Carter-Saltzman, L.. 1979. Twin method: Defense of a critical assumption. Behavior Genetics 9: 527–42.
Schreiber, Darren. 2005. “Evaluating Politics: A Search for the Neural Substrates of Political Thought.” PhD diss., UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.
Schwartz, S. H., and Bardi, A.. 2001. Value hierarchies across cultures: Taking a similarities perspective. Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology 32: 268–90.
Thornhill, Randy, and Fischer, Corey L.. 2007. “What Is the Relevance of Attachment and Life History to Political Values?” Presented at the annual meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society, Williamsburg, VA, May 30–June 3.
Westen, D., Blagov, P., Harenski, K., Kilts, C., and Hamann, S.. 2006. Neural basis of motivated reasoning: An fMRI study of emotional constraints on political judgment during the U.S. presidential election of 2004. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 18: 1947–58.
Xian, H., Scherrer, J.F., Eisen, S.A., True, W.R., Heath, A.C., Goldberg, J., Lyons, M.J., and Tsuang, M.T.. 2000. Self-reported zygosity and the equal environments assumption for psychiatric disorders in the Vietnam era twin registry. Behavior Genetics 30: 303–10.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed